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DRAFT 411: Prospects Gabriel Vilardi and Miro Heiskanen

Memorial Cup Champ and complete defenseman make up fourth ranked skaters

by @NHLFlyers /

Throughout the week, will profile the Top Players as ranked by NHL Central Scouting on both the North American and European Skaters lists. 

Monday - #1's (Patrick & Kostin). 

Tuesday - #2's (Hischier & Pettersson)

Wednesday - #3's (Mittelstadt & Andersson)

 Today we look at the players ranked fourth on the list: center Gabriel Vilardi (North American) and defenseman Miro Heiskanen (European).


TEAM: Windsor Spitfires - OHL

BIRTHDATE: August 16, 1999

BIRTHPLACE: Kingston, Ontario

VITALS: 6'3", 201 pounds


Vilardi is coming off the most successful season of his young career and capped it off with a Memorial Cup title. He recorded seven points, all assists, in the tournament for Canadian Junior Hockey supremacy, while also producing more than a point per-game pace in the regular season with 61 points (29g-32a) in 49 games for Windsor. His 29 goals led the team, while his 61 points were second.

Dan Marr, head of NHL Central Scouting, compliments his talent as well as the noticeable size in his game:

 "Vilardi is a high-end possession center with excellent hockey sense and puck-handling ability. He plays a very composed game with the puck, using his vision and playmaking ability to influence the game in all three zones. Vilardi excels below the dots in the offensive zone, where he utilizes his size and reach to control the play and generate scoring opportunities."

Vilardi was a part of the Top Prospects tour by the NHL which included a visit to the Stanley Cup Final and, of course, the NHL Combine.


Video: Vilardi on his overall combine experience

Last season, he earned Second All-Rookie Team Honors after he recorded 38 points (17g-21) in 62 games and four points (1g-3a) in five playoff games.

As many of the top prospects do, he also has international experience and success. He helped Team Canada win a gold medal at the 2015 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge with seven points (4g-3a) in six games.

For more on the Vilardi, the NHL Tonight crew broke down his game below…

Video: Prospect Profile: Gabriel Vilardi




BIRTHDATE: July 18, 1999

BIRTHPLACE: Espoo, Finland

VITALS: 6'0", 170 pounds


Pronounced, MEE-roh HAYS-kah-nehn, he skated in Finland's top pro league as a 17-year-old, where he recorded 10 points (5g-5a) in 37 games, and is one of the youngest players available in this year's draft.

His game really stood out and he jumped on many scouts radar at the Under-18 Worlds Tournament in April. He was named best defenseman and ranked second in scoring with two goals and 12 points in seven games, helping Finland win a silver medal.

"Not a lot of flash. He rarely makes a mistake and when he does it's kind of eye-popping because you're so surprised," said TSN's Craig Button on his final draft rankings. "He's so efficient and so incredibly smart."

Heiskanen also competed for Finland in the 2017 World Junior tournament in Dec-Jan. He played in all six games where he recorded one assist. The year prior, as a 16-year old, he helped Finland win gold at the Under-18 Worlds, appearing in all seven games. has this to say about Heiskanen:

"An excellent skater with top notch lateral agility and speed. He shows great confidence with the puck and he processes the game extremely well under pressure. He has great passing skills and vision. A defenseman with a high hockey IQ."

Stay tuned on Friday as we wrap up the week examining the Top 5 prospects on both sides of the draft.

For everything you need to know about the Flyers Draft, check out DRAFT CENTRAL

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