New Jersey Devils

Kings take Gabe Vilardi at No. 11 in NHL draft; Ducks re-sign Patrick Eaves

Kings take Gabe Vilardi at No. 11 in NHL draft; Ducks re-sign Patrick Eaves

Scouting reports on Windsor Spitfires center Gabe Vilardi questioned his skating ability, and more than a few NHL teams apparently took that as gospel. Although Vilardi was the fourth-rated North American skater in Central Scouting’s final draft rankings, the 17-year-old from Kingston, Canada, wasn’t among the first 10 players selected Friday in Chicago.

The Kings didn’t care about his perceived deficiencies. Skating can be improved. The heart and skills their scouts saw while he led Windsor to the Memorial Cup — the pinnacle of junior hockey — can’t be taught.

The Kings claimed Vilardi with the 11th selection. They were choosing early for the first time since their two...

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