The Washington Capitals selected Michigan State sophomore defenseman David Gucciardi in the seventh round (213th overall) of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Gucciardi was in the middle of a team workout away from his phone when the selection was made and didn’t find out about the good news until an hour later.
“It was really cool,” Gucciardi told the Statesman. “It’s something I’ve been working for my whole life. To have that goal achieved means a lot to me, and I’m really grateful and just thinking about people that got me there like my parents, my brother, all my family really. They did so much, so it was really special for them too and an exciting moment for everyone.”
The day after the draft Gucciardi traveled to Washington for the Capitals Development Camp. After a week of instruction and workouts at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, Gucciardi topped-off his exceptional week with a goal in the Capitals Development Camp scrimmage at Capital One Arena.
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“It kind of makes you want to get there, even more, when they show you kind of what it’s like,” Gucciardi said. “It was great. It was really cool to score that goal too, a little cherry on top, so it was awesome.”
Not a bad seven days for Gucciardi, or for anyone for that matter. But it wasn’t the highlight of the week.
Nothing impressed Gucciardi more than getting to work with Brooks Orpik, who serves as an assistant coach at Boston College and a player development coach for the Capitals. Gucciardi told the Statesman he learned some new defensive traits that he can work on, as well as a new desire to improve his nutrition. No surprise there.
“Learning how to play defense from that, I don’t think there’s too many guys better to learn from,” Gucciardi said. “He had a lot of really good pointers on just stick positioning, lining up your shoulders on one-on-ones, stuff like that, that I really enjoyed and I’m really grateful I got to learn that from him.”
Gucciardi has already returned Michigan State where he has begun preparations for his second season with the Spartans. The 19-year-old will be looking to improve on his fairly impressive freshman campaign, which saw him settle in as a starter, recording five goals and six assists in 36 games played.
“There’s a ton of excitement kind of around our team,” Gucciardi said. “Even around campus, people I would say are a little bit more excited about the hockey program right now.”
By Jon Sorensen