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The second overall pick in the 2015 OHL Draft, Gabriel Vilardi has been a key cog for the Windsor Spitfires this season. He has played, and earned top line minutes, on a stacked club that is getting ready to host the 2017 Memorial Cup. In February, Vilardi missed some time due to an appendectomy, and it was clear that the Spitfires were hampered by his absence. He has picked up where he left off, and put up good numbers down the stretch and early into the OHL Playoffs. Vilardi has scored 29 goals and 61 points in 49 OHL games this season. Vilardi was part of the OHL White team that won a gold medal at the 2016 World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, putting up four goals and seven points in six games.
Gabriel Vilardi Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #3
Center/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born Aug 16 1999 — Kingston, ONT
Height 6’2″ — Weight 193 lbs [188 cm / 88 kg]
Gabriel Vilardi has decent, but not great speed. He uses it to get in quickly on the forecheck and cause problems by pressuring defenders to make quick decisions. If they do not move the puck quickly, he is able to punish them with a big hit. Vilardi also has a good first step and decent acceleration. He is more quick, than fast, which allows him to pounce on loose pucks in the offensive zone.
Vilardi has good balance and power in his stride. He protects the puck well down low on the cycle, and can fight through checks and take the puck to the front of the net. His balance also helps him to win battles along the boards and in front of the net. It should continue to improve as he adds more lower body strength in the coming years Vilardi also has decent agility for a big man, helping him to avoid defenders, both with and without the puck.
Vilardi has a very long reach and excellent puck handling ability. He uses these assets to extend plays and wait for teammates to get open, before hitting them with a pass. Vilardi has the vision and passing skill to be a solid playmaker, both off the rush and in the cycle game. Vilardi is constantly moving and getting involved in the play. He is extremely gritty and involved in battles along the boards, and in front of the net.
The power forward prospect also has a very good wrist shot and an excellent release. His shot is powerful and deadly accurate. He also has the hands to finish plays in tight to the net, scoring on rebounds, tip-ins and one-time plays. His hockey IQ is also above average. Vilardi makes smart plays with the puck, as well as understanding how to get open without it.
Vilardi has shown a willingness to be involved in the play in all three zones. He shows great effort on the back check, and helps out the defenders down low. His positioning can be improved, but he has shown a willingness to work on and improve his game during his two years in the OHL. Vilardi has a lot of potential, but will need to keep working on this aspect of his game.
Projection and Comparison
Gabriel Vilardi has the potential to be a first line power forward in the NHL. He has played some centre during his OHL career, but most of our viewings have seen him at right wing. While there is some chance he could become a centre going forward, wing seems to be a more natural fit for him.
Vilardi’s game is reminiscent of Marian Hossa of the Chicago Blackhawks. This is a stylistic comparison only though, not a projection based on skill level.
The following is a compilation of highlights from youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #4 prospect in this year’s draft class.