Finally some good news for the Los Angeles Kings. Today, the team officially loaned top prospect Gabe Vilardi to Team Canada for the upcoming World Junior Championship. Vilardi’s short career has been marred by injury, but he is finally healthy enough to take the next step in his development. The team also announced the recall of Sean Walker from the Ontario Reign, something that had already been reported after Alec Martinez and Kyle Clifford were left off the team’s current road trip.
Vilardi had already been named to the junior selection camp roster, but there’s little doubt that he will make the team now that he’s healthy. The 19-year old forward had one assist in four rehab games with the Ontario Reign, but will likely go back to the OHL after the upcoming tournament is over. A puck-possession monster, Vilardi has huge offensive potential but was limited last season as well. Selected 11th overall in 2017, if he’s finally healthy the Kings have plenty to look forward to.
Canada is a medal favorite once again, and Vilardi should be part of a forward group that also includes names like Alex Formenton and Kings teammate Jaret Anderson-Dolan who have already made their NHL debuts. Los Angeles will also likely have Rasmus Kupari in the tournament for Finland, another big part of their future. Even as the NHL club struggles near the bottom of the league, fans will have something to look forward to as they watch the next wave of talent compete on the world stage.