The Los Angeles Kings will soon send back 11th-overall pick Gabe Vilardi to his junior team the Windsor Spitfires according to Bob McKenzie of TSN. Vilardi has been rehabbing from a back injury all season so far but is expected to rejoin the OHL team within the next few weeks. Technically the Kings haven’t actually signed Vilardi to an entry-level contract yet, meaning he couldn’t stay in the NHL anyway. But with rehab from his injury coming to a conclusion the Spitfires (and likely Team Canada’s World Junior team) will welcome him back with open arms.
Vilardi was a prospect with one of the more widespread scouting reports going into the draft. While some saw him as a dominant puck-possession player who could eventually handle the center position, others critiqued his skating ability and high-end creativity. Los Angeles will hope it’s closer to the latter when it’s all said and done, and an international appearance would be a solid step in that direction.
Team Canada as always is loaded with talent up front, and Vilardi would have to quickly prove he’s healthy if he wants to make the tournament that starts next month. Last season saw Vilardi register 61 points in 49 games for the Spitfires and help the team to a Memorial Cup Championship on home ice.