June 23, 2017
The Kings took steps toward helping their offensive woes on Friday by drafting Gabe Vilardi with the #11 pick in the NHL Draft.
Vilardi is a 6’3, 203 LB center from Kingston, Canada. Last season he scored 29 goals and 61 points in 49 games for the Windsor Spitfires in the Ontario Hockey League.
The 17-year-old was rated as high as the fourth best player in the draft according to some publications, but fell out of the top 10 due to some of his perceived skating deficiencies. However, the Kings were impressed with Vilardi’s big game abilities. He impressed them with seven assists in Windsor’s four-game victory over Erie in the Memorial Cup final.
“We found that on the biggest stage, he took it to another level,” Kings assistant general manager Michael Futa said of Vilardi. “We were looking to upgrade our skill, and it’s a package of a big kid with just incredible skill set and he’s a winner.”
Vilardi will attend the Kings development came in El Segundo next week. Although he will likely not be a part of the Kings roster this upcoming season, some are projecting him to be a part of the Kings team by the 2018-2019 season.
Meanwhile, the Ducks did not have a 1st round pick in Friday’s 1st round. However, they re-signed winger Patrick Eaves, who they acquired from the Dallas Stars for what turned into this year’s first round pick after advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
Eaves signed a 3-year $9.45 million contract with Anaheim. He scored 11 goals in 20 regular season games following the trade to Anaheim. He also added two goals in seven playoff games. However, he suffered an ankle injury during the 2nd round against Edmonton, knocking him out of the remainder of playoff action.
His contract includes a no-movement clause as well. Eaves would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, but liked what he saw in Anaheim.
“Being in that locker room is something special. I noticed that on day one,” said Eaves. “I’ve played with great players, great people …There was something different.”
Rounds 2 through 7 of the NHL draft will commence on Saturday at the United Center in Chicago.