Colorado Avalanche: Gabriel Vilardi a Statistical Wizard

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; A general view of the podium on stage before the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Colorado Avalanche fall to third- or fourth-overall, they might spend their NHL Draft pick on Gabriel Vilardi.

While the Colorado Avalanche have the best chance at earning the first-overall draft pick on April 29 — ~17.5% — they could fall as far as #4. If the team has the third or fourth pick, center Gabriel Vilardi could be their selection. He’s scouted #3 on most lists.

Vilardi is a great all-around player — especially for one so young. He doesn’t even turn 18 until August.

Let’s look at what Vilardi brings to the table.

Gabriel Vilardi

Embed from Getty Images

2016-17 Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Date of Birth: August 16, 1999 (17 years old)
Ht: 6’3″
Wt: 192 lbs
Position: Center
Shoots: Right

As you notice from his statistics, Gabriel Vilardi doesn’t have the huge scoring you often see from elite players. However, 61 points (29 goals, 32 assists) in 49 games is nothing to sneeze at with his Windsor Spitfires.

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What sets Gabe Vilardi apart is that he’s an advanced stats darling. According to Windsor coach Rocky Thompson, who tracks advanced stats, Vilardi is “the engine on this team because whoever plays with him, their Corsi numbers go straight up and are increased.”

Indeed, Thompson notes that said stats tend to drop off when they’re not playing with Gabe. The coach credits Vilardi with making his teammates “even better.”

Mike Morreale of concurs that Vilardi is an analytics wizard: “a puck-possessing workaholic with skilled hands and outstanding awareness.”

Morreale also praises Vilardi’s hockey sense and composition during games.

A lot of scouting reports point out Gabe’s size — 6-foot-2, 193 pounds. Again, he’s just 17, so you can expect him to maybe gain an inch (Nathan MacKinnon claims he has) and bulk up with muscle. However, even as it stands now, Vilardi is known for his long reach and difficulty to move off the puck.

However, Gabriel Vilardi has a lot of elite skills to offer, too. Future Considerations calls him a “dynamic and often brilliant offensive attacker” with “skilled hands and outstanding awareness.” The site continues:

"“[Vilardi] has a quick jump and agility on his feet, but is not really a speed demon screaming up the ice…plays aggressively both when his team does and does not have the puck; often hunting it down and stripping it from his opponent.”"

Side note: It’s funny that Future Considerations uses the term “speed demon” because that’s how Hockey Forecaster describes Matt Duchene.

Gabriel Vilardi was aiming to be a top-ranked prospect. It’s unlikely he’ll go first or second — that seems to be for Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier to fight it out — but third-overall is a real likelihood.

 Gabe Vilardi in action:

Gabriel Vilardi and the Colorado Avalanche

Center Garbiel Vilardi for the Colorado Avalanche would be an exciting proposition. It’s interesting because the team has been moving more toward small and speedy guys. Gabe isn’t as speedy as, say, a Nolan Patrick, but you’ve got to think his long stride eats up ice the way Erik Johnson‘s does.

Vilardi’s got the elite stick skills that Colorado has been moving toward, not to mention that great hockey IQ. What makes him so fascinating is his being an analytics darling. Boy, the Colorado Avalanche could use a player who elevates those around him.


Like I said above, it’s doubtful Colorado would spend their first or second pick on him. However, if they fall to third-overall — or he’s still available at the fourth-overall position — Gabriel Vilardi would make a great addition to the team. He might even be able to make the jump to the NHL his first year.