Prospect Ramblings: Vilardi shining, Beck set to dominate OHL, Hellberg in for Sens

Ben Gehrels


Gabe Vilardi (11th OA, 2017) is a former Golden Boy for the Kings who has flashed potential but also struggled repeatedly with injuries. His resume includes a D+1 OHL season where he scored almost two points per game, a 70-point pace in the AHL, and a 40-point pace over his first 63 NHL games. He has struggled to stick with the Kings, however, and is approaching do-or-die territory heading into 2022-23 as a 23-year-old.

Although his skating has always been average at best, Vilardi has a high-end shot and excellent instincts around the net. He has earned a “two-way” label by playing defensively responsible hockey, and when he is on his game, his vision and playmaking improve everyone around him.

Coach Todd McLellan had some encouraging praise for Vilardi yesterday after he scored two goals in a 5-4 loss to the Ducks, focusing in particular on his puck protection and new role on the power play.

The “new role” McLellan alluded to seems to be parked right at the goal mouth, screening the goalie and waiting for rebounds and passes. One of the two goals he scored against the Ducks came on the PP in his new position:

The other goal was not scored on the PP but was similarly from a goal-mouth scramble. Vilardi strips the Ducks’ defender of the puck and rifles it home in traffic: