We continue our Washington Capitals annual prospect review and forecast series with Vincent Iorio, defenseman for the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League (WHL). (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page in the top menu or right here.)
Iorio, 19, is a 6’-3”, right-handed defenseman from Coquitclam, British Columbia. He was a second round pick (#55 overall) of the Capitals in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Iorio signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals on October 4, 2021. Last season was an entry-level slide season for Iorio, which will make him a restricted free agent at the end of the 2025 season.
Prior to playing junior hockey, Iorio played two seasons with the Shattuck St. Mary’s AAA team. When he first started playing hockey, he was a forward, but eventually switched to defenseman.
In the 2018-19 season, Iorio recorded just a single goal and four assists in 50 games during his rookie campaign. In 2019-20, Iorio scored four goals and 17 assists in 59 games, recording 21 points overall.
There was a good chance he would have exceeded his career-high in overall points in 2020-21, but the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He finished the season with five goals and seven assists in just 22 games.
Iorio attended Capitals’ prospect camp in September of 2021 and participated in the Capitals 2021 main training camp. He also played in one preseason game against the Devils on September 29th before he was returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings on October 1 in time for the Wheat Kings season-opener.
Iorio was invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, which opened in Calgary, Alberta on December 9, but was cut from the team on December 12. He may still get an opportunity to make the team this summer when the cancelled championship is finally played.
For the 2021-22 season, Iorio was named an assistant captain to start the season. He was a steady starter in his fourth season with the Wheat Kings, playing on the right side of the top defensive pairing. Offensively, Iorio recorded 11 goals and 33 assists for 47 points in 60 games played, which was a career high for points and 16th-best among all defensemen in the WHL. He added another goal and an assist in six postseason games.
The Capitals recalled Iorio to Hershey immediately following the conclusion of his WHL season on April 4, but did not see any game action.
2021-2022 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for Vincent Iorio during the 2021-2022 season. You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Iorio attended Capitals’ prospect camp at the end of September and participated in the Capitals main training camp. He also played in one preseason game against the Devils on September 29th before he returned to the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL on October 1 in time for the Wheat Kings season-opener. Iorio, who was named an assistant captain for the Wheat Kings, recorded an assist in each of his first two games. His first assist was a very nice feed from the corner and below the goal line.
Nice centering pass from the corner by Vincent Iorio sets up Wheat Kings second goal of the game. #ALLCAPS #CapsProspect pic.twitter.com/oZOzfl41Bv
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) October 2, 2021
Iorio had a nice primary assist on October 13 against Saskatoon, finding the man down low in the crease.
🚨Nolan Ritchie puts home the pass from Vinny Iorio to take the lead 4-3 late in the 3rd! #BWK 🌾👑 pic.twitter.com/sa9RGIhbOb
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) October 14, 2021
Iorio also missed the last two games of the month due to an undisclosed injury. For the month of October, Iorio had no goals and seven assists in 10 games played. He was a -12 and shot the puck 27 times. The Wheat Kings have struggled this season, so Iorio has had his hands full on the back end.
Iorio remained out due to injury to start the month of November (11/5, 11/6). He returned to the lineup on November 11 and had the primary assist on the Wheat Kings first goal of the game. Iorio’ s outlet pass along the wall was a perfect feed for the breakaway score.
Vincent Iorio with a nice primary assist on Wheat Kings shorthanded goal last night. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/zSPidfDak4
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) November 12, 2021
Iorio returned to the right side of the top pairing on November 19 against Moose Jaw, and would pot his first tally of the season. He sniped from just inside the right circle to tie the game 1-1 in the first period.
Vinny Iorio with his first goal of the season, ties game 1-1. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/fJbjpWiYuS
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) November 20, 2021
Iorio would score again in his next game, this time against Medicine Hat on November 26.
Vincent Iorio gives us an early 1-0 lead!#BWK 🌾👑 pic.twitter.com/KAcvTo5vX3
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) November 27, 2021
Iorio was not on the top power play unit in the games we watched so far this season, but was consistently playing on the top penalty kill unit. For the season he has two goals and eight assists in 17 games played. He is a -1 and shot the puck 52 times for a 3.8% shooting percentage.
The Wheat Kings continue to struggle as a team so far this season, and some of the negative aspects of Iorio’s stats reflect that. We watched three games of his in the month of November and feel his play at this point of the season is fine. His exit/outlet passing skills continue to impress, using the boards for stretch-passes and quickly finding the right player to feed up the ice.
Iorio, who turned 19 on the 14th of the month, is in his 4th season in the WHL and will likely be headed to Hershey next. He will need to step it up some if he plans to make it to Hershey next season, as the blueline if fairly competitive in Hershey for the for the next 12-18 months or so.
On November 1, Iorio was formally invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, beginning Dec. 9 in Calgary.
Iorio was invited to Canada’s National Junior Team selection camp, which opened in Calgary, Alberta on December 9.
“I’m very excited,” Iorio said of the invitation. “Obviously it’s going to be a challenge but the end goal for (teammate) Ridly and I is to make the team and help the team out as much as we can. We’re really looking forward to it and working hard to be a part of that team.”
Iorio had 51 points in 151 regular season WHL games.”It’s a little bit of a fantasy,” Iorio said. “You watch the world juniors growing up as a kid and it’s putting on the Maple Leaf sweater you get as a kid. To be able to be part of a camp like this … I’m at a loss for words.”
🎥 SAVE OF THE NIGHT 🎥
Not all heroes wear goalie pads. @Capitals prospect Vincent Iorio comes up with the save of the day for the @bdnwheatkings!@RealCdnSS | #SaveoftheNight pic.twitter.com/9IVdp9GnJz
— The WHL (@TheWHL) November 11, 2021
In his last game prior to departing for Calgary, Iorio provided the primary assist for the Wheat Kings against Moose Jaw on December 8. Once again the play was setup by an excellent outlet pass off the boards by Iorio.
Replay cut it off, but another excellent outlet pass by Vincent Iorio sets up Wheat Kings first goal. He’s made several similar outlet and stretch passes off the boards or off the glass to setup breakaway goals, so far this season. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/OR7MGiWK1x
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) December 9, 2021
Iorio was cut from Canada’s National Junior team on December 12. Iorio would score his third goal of the season on December 27 against the Winnipeg Ice. He had a goal and an assist, was a +2 in and the second star of the game in his first game back from selection camp.
Johnson finds Vincent Iorio in front, and he scores his third of the season!#BWK 🌾👑 pic.twitter.com/eGOTBdR9zk
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) December 28, 2021
Although a tough month for a Iorio, with regards to the Canadian National team, the events may have motivated him. He has looked solid in his return to the Wheat Kings in the four games we watched, continuing his physical game.
One aspect of Iorio’s game that stands out after watching many of his games this season is his breakout passing skills. He is quick to find the exit pass, and uses the boards for stretch passes extremely well.
Iorio scored his fourth goal of the season on January 15 against the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Vincent Iorio scores his 4th of the season. #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/xF0NpddIlu
— Jon Sorensen (@jon_m_sorensen) January 16, 2022
Iorio scored two power-play goals and added three assists against the Regina Pats on January 28. In doing so, Iorio recorded his first career five-point night, helping Brandon overcome 2-0, 3-1, and 4-2 deficits on route to their 19th win of the season. Iorio got the Wheat Kings on the score board 4:02 into the second period with a shot from the point that found its way through Regina goalie Matthew Kieper’s glove.
Iorio cuts the lead in half and then Salame burns his former team to restore the two goal lead.
Bedard gets his second point of the night. @CarloColaiacovo is happy; @frankcorrado22 is starting to sweat#CHLonTSN | @bdnwheatkings | @WHLPats pic.twitter.com/l2UROeZlbC
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) January 29, 2022
But just 18 seconds later Regina scored to restore their two-goal lead at 3-1. Brandon drew back within a goal 9:31 into the period when Iorio scored another power-play goal with a shot from the high slot past Kieper’s blocker.
Two shots, two goals for #ALLCAPS prospect Iorio @bdnwheatkings | @Capitals | #CHLonTSN pic.twitter.com/U2JOuTWImQ
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) January 29, 2022
“He was real good tonight and had to play lots of minutes,” Brandon head coach Don MacGillivray said. “I think without Mason in there, (Chad Nychuk) and Vinny play a little bit more. He did a real good job on the power play. He shot the puck twice from the top and both shots found their way in. I thought he got back for pucks, he moved the puck, he got to his net, he made the right plays and made the game easier for his teammates.”
Iorio added an empty net goal for his 7th tally of the season on January 30th against Saskatoon.
Iorio has stepped up his game since returning from the Team Canada selection camp in December. For the month of January, he potted four goals and two assists in just five games played during the COVID-shortened month.
Offensively, Iorio had a goal and six assists for the month of February. He scored his lone tally and had two assists against Saskatoon on February 23.
Iorio fires a shot from the line and the Wheat Kings have an early 1-0 lead!#BWK 🌾👑 pic.twitter.com/vldEy5UZj4
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) February 24, 2022
Iorio has looked good defensively and has been a steady force on the Wheat Kings backend in the three games we watched in February. As we’ve noted before he has excellent defensive zone exits, uses the boards for his passes and also does well bringing the puck into the offensive zone and joining the play.
Iorio is wrapping up his fourth season with the Wheat Kings, yet is still only 19 (Turns 20 on November 14). He has eight goals and 24 assists in 40 games played so far this season.
Offensively, Iorio had two goals and four assists in a decent month of March. His first goal of the month came on March 11 against the Winnipeg Ice.
Iorio opens the scoring only 36 seconds into the game! #BWK 🌾👑 pic.twitter.com/cSgBS3O29b
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) March 12, 2022
His second goal of the month came two weeks later on March 26 against Regina. He also recorded an assist in the game.
Iorio takes it himself! Wheaties lead 2-1!#BWK 🌾👑 pic.twitter.com/48bDaEQc3p
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) March 27, 2022
Offensively for the season Iorio has 10 goals and 28 assists in 52 games played for the Wheat Kings. His .73 points per game is second behind Chad Nychuk among defensemen on the Wheat Kings. [Nychuk is second the in WHL among all defensemen in points per game. Iorio is 20th in the WHL].
Iorio has shot the puck 163 times for a 6.1% shooting percentage, which is low for a fourth-year defenseman in the WHL.
Iorio had a decent month of April for the Brandon Wheat Kings. Offensively, he had a goal and five assists in eight games played to close out the regular season. Iorio had a goal and an assist in six postseason games before the Wheat Kings were eliminated from the postseason.
Iorio makes it a one-goal game! 🔥#GoldRush 🌾👑 pic.twitter.com/Y4QQzlpxFS
— Brandon Wheat Kings (@bdnwheatkings) April 30, 2022
For the season, Iorio had 11 goals and 33 assists in 60 games played, was +14 and was a consistent starter on the blueline for Brandon, his best season offensively in his four seasons with the Wheat Kings.
Iorio was fairly impressive in the 12-15 games we watched this season. He demonstrated excellent zone exit skills, quickly collecting the puck and turning to begin the rush. He is excellent at making board passes on those zone exits. He was also strong on special teams. His shot is also impressive, although he shot the puck 173 times for a sub-par 6.3% shooting percentage.
Iorio will now transition his game to the AHL this fall. At 19, Iorio has already tucked a decent amount of hockey experience under his belt, including four full seasons in the WHL, so it will be interesting to see how fast he adapts to the pro game.
There will be significant competition in Hershey for playing time on the right side of the blueline (Benton Maass) to start the season, but being a second round draft pick, the Capitals may insist Iorio get starts immediately.
By Jon Sorensen
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There will be a lot of youth on the right side of the blueline (finally) in Hershey this fall.
He’s probably a lot more ready for AHL than Maass.
Good prospect. I like this pick.
Will be interesting to see how much he has improved on camp this year and hope that he has a good year in Hershey and maybe get a callonce or twice!