2020-21 Team: Michigan State University
Date of Birth: Oct. 9th, 2002
Place of Birth: Toronto, Canada
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 161 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
At any draft, there will always be different tiers of players. At the top are those players that are expected to not only make their way to the NHL sooner rather than later but make a meaningful impact with the team that drafts them. As you get towards the middle of the class, these players can have just as bright of a future, but they may be lacking in some areas that cause them to be less of a sure thing.
Heading into the 2021 NHL Draft, defenseman David Gucciardi appears to be a perfect example of this kind of mid-tier prospect. When you look at his body of work, you see a player with many strengths and weaknesses, but you also see a player who is on the right path to develop his game and one day make his way into an NHL lineup.
On the positive side, Gucciardi is a talented offensive defenseman, who can make crisp passes, has a strong shot, and isn’t afraid to play tough along the boards even though he is just 5-foot-11. On the negative side, when he is put under pressure, he will sometimes panic and make an ill-advised pass or shot that kills the momentum of his team. This reveals his somewhat middling defensive tendencies, which can hold back his overall game.
These sorts of tendencies can be fixed, however, and if he can iron his few flaws, he may be a mid-tier prospect with true high-tier potential. As he is already committed to Michigan State University for the 2021-22 season, Gucciardi is in a great position to develop his game for a few years before receiving the call to join a franchise either in the AHL or the NHL.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
David Gucciardi – NHL Draft Projection
Given Gucciardi’s body of work and solid all-around toolkit, I would expect him to be selected sometime in the fourth round. If a team really loves his potential then he could go as soon as the mid-third, but it seems unlikely that he would move up much higher than that.
David Gucciardi, acquired in an early season trade from Youngstown, will be drafted. His game is raw, and his mistakes are often critical, but he has tools, and his instincts are good enough to think he can be a good one if he relies on his instincts all the time.Ryan Wagman – mckeenshockey.com
We really like his offensive instincts from the back end and his ability to possess the puck and make plays up the rink.Andy Johnson – Sioux City Musketeers General Manager
Terrific skater with excellent stick skills … Has an offensive mind … Plays an aggressive game and looks to push the pace and play toward the opponents’ net.Michigan State Hockey Profile
- Great presence on the ice
- Willing to win tough battles along the boards
- High offensive upside
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
While the offensive instincts are there, Gucciardi still needs to improve his overall decision-making to maximize his potential. Right now, he will make an ill-advised pass or shot, which can break the flow of his team and sometimes lead to a scoring chance going the other direction.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Also, if he hopes to one day break into the NHL, his overall skating ability will need to improve before he will be able to make that jump.
With a strong offensive toolkit, the potential is there for Gucciardi to become that perfect second-pairing defenseman who can act as a powerplay quarterback. Even if he doesn’t reach those lofty heights, he still is talented enough to find his place in a line-up, acting as a bottom-six offensive-first defenseman playing in a limited role.
Risk – 4/5, Reward – 4/5
When it comes to drafting a defenseman with offensive upside, there’s a fair amount of risk in this pick. Even if their offensive skillset develops, it’s also just as possible that their defensive instincts won’t become NHL caliber, making them a liability on the ice.
For Gucciardi, this is the case. He has great upside, but also has some real drawbacks as well, making him a bit of an uncertain pick. If he hits, though, he is another player that could impress out of the middle rounds of the 2021 Draft.
David Gucciardi Statistics
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.