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Gabriel Vilardi had had a wild ride in his journey to the NHL.

His story comes with ups and downs, with some of those downs being if he would step onto NHL ice. That question would be answered this past season.

Vilardi had a successful and productive junior career with the Windosr Spitfires and Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. He was put on the map because of his production and not a single roadblock in his way – he was going to make the NHL. Then injuries hit him bad. His dream never seemed so far away and now there was doubt in his mind.He had several reoccurring back issues that limited his play and eventual pro debut with the Los Angeles Kings AHL affiliate, Ontario Reign.

Once he was able to put the back issues behind him, no pun intended, he did take a huge step and made his AHL debut, scoring one point in 4 games.

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Photo: Dan Greenspan/NHL.com

2019-20 would bring what us Kings fans were hoping for – a healthy Vilardi that could show us why he can be a cornerstone piece to the franchise’s future. A career that would prove everyone wrong, those people that said he would never play again because of his injuries. The Kings 11th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft never looked back and made his NHL debut during the 19-20 season, scoring 7 points in 10 games.

Although his serious back issues seem to have subsided enough to let him play a regular shift it is still too early to say they could not come back. He is poised and ready to make his mark on this team.


The question is does Vilardi have what it takes to be slotted permanently on the 2nd line, or will he have a setback that, to be honest, could end his career?

Featured Image: Flip Livingstone/The Score
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