Sunday, October 11, 2009

Vilardo Officially On Team USA

There has been a ton of disarray with the NTDP this season and they have been short on players. There had been rumors about late '92 born forward Michael Vilardo filling in with the NTDP U17 squad. Over the weekend, Vilardo played two games with the U17's against Green Bay (USHL). Tonight I was officially told that potential recruit Michael Vilardo has left the Chicago Mission and will play the rest of the season with the USA NTDP.

Vilardo, who at one point had committed to The Ohio State University, started this season with the Chicago Mission U18's. (In Vilardo's words, he felt he committed to early, before really looking at all of his options) Badger commit Jordan Schmaltz also plays for the Mission.

Current Badger committed recruits Michael Mersch and Frankie Simonelli both play with the U18's, and both hail from the state of Illinois like Vilardo. Just two seasons ago, Mersch and Vilardo teamed up to produce a dynamic duo for the Team Illinois U16 squad. Mersch led the team in scoring and Vilardo was one point behind him.

The interesting thing of note here is that the U17 team is made up of '93 birth year players so they are allowed to play in U17 international competitions. Vilardo will not be eligible for that portion of the schedule. Although he will still get to take part in a large chuck of USHL games that the U17's will play and get to participate in the rigorous training program at the NTDP.

Vilardo is a late '92 which means after this season he will have to play at least one season of junior hockey after he ages out of the NTDP this season. Like I've posted before, the Badgers are currently thin on forwards out of this age group. Vilardo should be a big time target for the coaching staff along with forwards Garrett Allen (Fargo Force), Ryan Belonger and CJ Eick (St. Louis Bandits NAHL).

Vilardo says he's keeping his options open at this point, but said that Michigan, Denver, Notre Dame, New Hampshire, Harvard, Wisconsin, and Princeton have shown the most interest.