CHICAGO, IL—The Los Angeles Kings made a total of seven selections at the 2017 NHL Draft in Chicago, held at the United Center on Friday, June 23, and Saturday, June 24. The Kings acquired the 11th overall pick, which they used to select 17 year-old Gabe Vilardi, who hails from Kingston, Ontario. He stands at 6 feet and 3 inches tall, and weighs 203 pounds.
Vilardi played for the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League, leading the team in goals with 29 and points with 61 (which also consists of 32 assists). In 49 games during the regular season, he tied for first on the Spitfires in power play goals with eight and finished second in assists. He tallied six points (two goals and four assists) and four penalty minutes in seven OHL playoff games.
In May 2017, the Spitfires were appointed the 2017 Memorial Cup champions. They beat the Erie Otters 4-3 in the championship final, in which Vilardi attained two assists and was named the game’s Second Star. In four Memorial Cup tournament games, he collected seven assists and earned a plus-2 rating. He tied for second in assists and tied for seventh in points, both with seven.
Vilardi will enroll in Hockey Canada’s Development Camp for the 2017-2018 World Junior Championships. He is also scheduled to attend the Kings Development Camp, to be held June 27-June 30 at Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo.
This year, Vilardi was the highest player selected by the Kings since the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, where Brayden Schenn was the fifth overall pick. Before Vilardi, the Kings had only three (consecutive) 11th overall selections in franchise history: goaltender Jonathan Bernier in 2006, center (and current captain) Anze Kopitar in 2005, and right winger Lauri Tukonen in 2004.
On the second day of the draft, Los Angeles selected 17 year-old forward Jaret Anderson-Dolan in the second round with the 41st overall pick. Having spent the last three seasons with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, Anderson-Dolan collected 76 points (39 goals and 37 assists), a plus-4 rating and 22 penalty minutes in 72 games last season. Among team forwards, he ranked first in power play goals with 14 (tying for 12th in the league), second in goals, points and game-winning goals with six, along with fourth in assists. This year, he was named the captain of the Canadian U18 World Junior team.
With the 72nd overall pick, the Kings next selected Kingston, Ontario-born goaltender Matt Villalta, 18, from the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL) in the third round.
Villalta stands at 6 feet and 2 inches tall and weighs 165 pounds. In 33 games last season, he cultivated a 25-3-0 record, .918 save percentage, 2.41 goals-against average ,and one shutout. Villalta was ranked as the top rookie in save percentage (second), goals-against average (fifth), and wins (tied for seventh).
Defenseman Michael Anderson, 18, of Roseville, Minnesota was selected as the 103rd overall pick in the fourth round. Standing at 5 feet and 11 inches tall and weighing 197 pounds, Anderson appeared in 54 games with the Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL). He tallied 34 points (five goals and 29 assists) and acquired a plus-29 rating in addition to 52 penalty minutes. Among USHL defensemen, he tied for second in plus/minus, ranked fifth in points and assists, and third in power play assists with 14. He tallied three additional points (two goals and one assist) and 10 penalty minutes in eight postseason games while leading his team to the Western Conference Final.
With the 118th overall pick (Los Angeles’ second pick in the fourth round, acquired from the Dallas Stars in exchange for goaltender Ben Bishop), the team selected Toronto, Ontario-born defenseman Markus Phillips, 18, who stands at 6 feet and weighs 202 pounds.
In 66 games with the OHL’s Owen Sound Attack, Phillips totaled 13 goals and 30 assists (a total of 43 points), in addition to a plus-41 rating and 44 penalty minutes. Of team-defensemen, he ranked first in goals, power play goals and plus/minus as well as second in points and assists.
In the 2017 playoffs, he helped the Owen Sound advance to the Western Conference Final with five assists (constituting five points; no goals scored) before being eliminated by the Erie Otters, who would go on to win the championship.
Los Angeles had two fifth round picks. With the 134th overall, they selected 19 year-old defenseman Cole Hults, who hails from Markham, Ontario. Hults stands at 6 feet tall and weighs 189 pounds. With the Madison Capitols of the USHL, he recorded 32 points (six goals and 26 assists) and 122 penalty minutes in 59 games. Hults, one of the team leaders, ranked first in points and assists. He is scheduled to attend Pennylvania State University next season.
The Kings acquired the 138th overall pick in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning (with which they also acquired Ben Bishop) last season. Los Angeles selected 18 year-old forward Drake Rymsha, a native of Huntington Woods, Michigan, of the Sarnia Sting (OHL).
The 6-foot, 187-pounder had 28 regular-season appearances with the Sting last season. He collected 33 points (comprised of 20 goals and 13 assists) and 39 penalty minutes. He commenced the season with the Ottawa 67’s, where, in 37 games, he attained 29 points (15 goals and 14 assists) and 41 penalty minutes.
The Kings traded the 165th overall pick to the New York Islanders in exchange for a sixth round selection in the 2018 NHL Draft.