As the Arizona Coyotes attempt to get through the 2021-22 season, they must look forward to the future. That includes completing some trades. While the primary route to that improvement is definitely through the draft, trades have been also mentioned by general manager Bill Armstrong. Furthermore, the team is filthy rich with three first-round and five second-round draft selections for 2022. Those are valuable assets to use to build a better team. Every Arizona Coyotes possible trade must be considered. We will discuss one such trade which could really help the hapless Coyotes.
Gabe Vilardi Would be a Good Addition to Arizona Coyotes
Here’s the thing… the Coyotes have the draft assets to do what they wish with them to improve the team’s rebuild. Excluding the obvious draft additions, which will take some time unless of course, they are lucky enough to grab Shane Wright, trades should be considered. Armstrong is very open to that and he knows having cap space and draft assets puts him in an excellent negotiation position. One player the Coyotes should consider is the Los Angeles Kings forward Gabriel Vilardi. He was the #11 overall pick by the Kings in the 2017 draft. He has played in 71 NHL games with 14 goals and 17 assists. In the AHL he has collected 10 goals and 17 assists in 38 games.
Vilardi was sent down to the Ontario Reign on November 16th. He has had some difficulty developing due to injuries. But, let’s face it at 6′-3″, 200 pounds, he fits right into the Coyotes’ plans to build for the future. The Kings are not giving up on him quite yet, as they shouldn’t, yet if the LA team fails to head towards a playoff spot by the trade deadline in March, they could consider moving him. He just hasn’t progressed at the level the Kings had hoped for and a change of scenery could help him get motivated to perform better.
Vilardi Fits the Mold for the Coyotes
He is a right-shooting centre and you can never get too many at that position. With Nick Schmaltz not performing up to expectations and injured quite a lot, Vilardi could step into a top-six role for the Desert Dogs. He is still only 22-years-old and has a bright future. Lisa Dillman from The Athletic described Vilardi as “a player who could be reaching a crossroads in his NHL/Kings career.” Compounding matters for Vilardi is that the Kings also filled two top-six spots in the lineup from outside the organization by adding Phillip Danault from Montreal (via free agency) and Viktor Arvidsson from Nashville (via trade). That could make Vilardi expendable eventually.
Dillman also mentioned, “the Kings traded away a second-rounder in 2021 and a third-rounder in 2022 for Arvidsson. Moving Vilardi could help them recoup some of the draft choices they’ve traded away.”
All of this could very well place Vilardi in a position to be traded, but nothing solid on that has been reported yet.
Arizona Coyotes Possible Trade Could Help the Rebuild
One thing we all know is that Coyotes’ GM Bill Armstrong is going all in to rebuild the team. Adding a promising forward like Vilardi will go right along with his plan. A second-round draft pick may seal the deal to bring him to the desert. He certainly has some promise and one heck of a shot, as displayed here.
With the addition of Dylan Guenther drafted ninth overall this year, Vilardi would be another sharpshooter who can find the net. This becomes especially paramount when you consider that the Yotes are shopping sharpshooter Phil Kessel around who has little trouble scoring. The youth movement will be in full force once this season ends considering that there will be 14 unrestricted free agents along with nine restricted free agents on the roster. Some will stay, some will not.
It’s clear that Armstrong wants to build around such players as Jakob Chychrun, Clayton Keller, Lawson Crouse, and Nick Schmaltz. Whether Vilardi’s name is added to that list is yet to be determined. He has the skills, the size and is getting valuable experience as his career unfolds. And as mentioned above, you can never have too many centres on your team. Vilardi is a player that Armstrong should take a close look at, if he hasn’t already done so. He could be part of the building blocks that make the Arizona franchise a contender in the next three-to-four years.