LA Kings: Five most important players for 2021 season

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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LA Kings Gabe Vilardi
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Gabriel Vilardi

After being selected 11th overall by the Kings in the 2017 draft, Gabriel Vilardi was plagued by back injuries that seemed to be threatening a promising career. Fortunately, he seems to be over them.

Finally able to get back on the ice last season, Vilardi had a strong showing in the AHL with the Ontario Reign, scoring nine goals and 25 points in 32 games. He then got called up to the NHL and scored a goal in his first shift, adding an assist later on in a memorable debut.

It was a real feel-good moment after all Vilardi had been through. He kept up the impressive play, too, finishing with three goals and a very respectable seven points in 10 games with the Kings last season.

Before the back issues that sidelined him for so long and caused him to fall off the radar a bit, Vilardi was a very highly-touted prospect. He’s still just 21, and him showing his health issues are in the past and re-establishing himself as a big part of the Kings’ future would certainly be a very positive development for this season.