Next up in our annual prospect review and forecast series is David Gucciardi, defenseman for Michigan State University. (You can access all of our Capitals Prospect Reports and player analysis on our “Prospects” page in the top menu or right here.)
The Capitals selected Gucciardi in the seventh round (213th overall) of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’-1” left-handed defenseman, who hails from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, was passed over in the previous NHL draft, but showed promise in his game during the 2021-22 season.
Prior to playing for Michigan State, Gucciardi played in the USHL for two seasons, with four different teams: Muskegon Lumberjacks, Sioux City Musketeers, Youngstown Phantoms, and Waterloo Blackhawks. He recorded 20 points (7g, 13a) in 33 games in what was his second USHL season in 2020-21.
In 2021-22 Gucciardi had 5 goals and 6 assists in 36 games during his freshman year at Michigan State, scoring twice on the power play and blocking 44 shots. The Communications major was part of a promising group of three freshmen and led all Spartan freshmen in goals. He scored three of MSU’s four goals in the Great Lakes Invitational.
Gucciardi was in the middle of a team workout away from his phone when the Capitals selected him 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.”
For the 2022-23 season, Gucciardi appeared in 36 games for the second straight season, recording four goals and six assists and led the team with three game-winning goals. Gucciardi also had 46 blocked shots, which ranked third among Spartans …
2022-2023 MONTH-BY-MONTH RECAP AND TREND ANALYSIS
The following is a compilation of our month-by-month prospect reports for David Gucciardi during the 2022-2023 season. Also included are his monthly scores (0-5, with 2.5 being average). You can find all of our monthly prospect reports on our “Prospects” page in the top menu.
Michigan State opened their preseason on 10/2, although the Spartans were missing sophomore defenseman Gucciardi for the first two games of the season due to illness. He dressed for his first game in October 13 as the 7th defenseman.
“We’re excited about having him back in the lineup, and I think it says a lot about David that he played that way in his first game of the year against a really good team in a competitive game,” said Spartans coach Adam Knightengale. “He can be a really good player for us. He can really skate, he’s a hockey junkie, and we think he’s just going to keep getting better and better as the season goes on.”
Gucciardi recorded his first goal of the season on October 21.
Snipe from the high slot by Gucciardi! Play right off the faceoff and the Spartans lead 2-1. pic.twitter.com/iLvbPCd8oh
— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) October 21, 2022
Gucciardi followed up his first goal of the season with another tally the following night.
I’m not playing favorites but I really love watching David Gucciardi score. pic.twitter.com/QXaWPJ5sHK
— Brad LaPlante (@bradlaplante) October 23, 2022
Gucciardi had a tough outing against Notre Dame on October 28. He was a -4 in a 5-0 loss to the Irish.
Gucciardi has played in six games in October. He scored two goals and is -1 for the month and the season. He has taken one minor penalty.
Monthly Score: 3.0
Gucciardi played in eight games in November. Offensively, he scored no goals and recorded two assists. For the season, he’s played in 14 games, scored two goals, recorded three assists and is +5 for the season. He has taken 32 shots on goal and blocked 18 shots, blocking seven of those shots in November. Gucciardi usually plays on the second defensive pairing.
He earned his first assist of the season on the team’s second goal in a 5-1 victory against the University of Wisconsin Badgers on November 5. Jagger Joshua knocked down a blast from Gucciardi in the high slot and beat goalie Kyle McClellan at 4:40 during the first period, which staked the team to a 2-0 lead and held up as the game-winner.
Jagger Joshua makes it 2-0! pic.twitter.com/oOvfB2LX8x
— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) November 5, 2022
Gucciardi had two primary assists in a 4-0 win against Miami of Ohio on November 26. His first assist occurred at 0:57 in the second period. Daniel Russell flung the puck up to Gucciardi at the top of the zone. He then fed Karsen Dorwart on the right wing for a one-timer to put MSU up 2-0.
Bouncing puck comes to Dorwart in the right circle and he buries it from the half wall for a 2-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/8LkgsDVb85
— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) November 26, 2022
Gucciardi earned his second assist at 10:55 into the third period when intercepting a pass at center ice to set up a quick-developing 2-on-1. He fed Russell on his left for the finish to make it 4-0.
Monthly Score: 3.0
Gucciardi played in six games in December and was kept off the scoresheet in all six of those games. He has played in 19 games for the season, scored two goals and recorded three assists. He is +5 for the season. He has taken 41 shots on goal and blocked 26 shots, with nine of those blocks in December. Gucciardi has usually played on the second defensive pairing.
Gucciardi committed an atypical amount of turnovers over the first two weekends of the month, according to StateNews.com
TJ Hughes goals in back-to-back nights! Keato and Rutger with the apples pic.twitter.com/F6TmnuLcIx
— Michigan Hockey (@umichhockey) December 11, 2022
The Michigan State Hockey Hub commentators discussed the team’s performance during the first half of the season in mid-December, which included comments on Gucciarci. They remarked that he had contracted mono early in the season and that he has struggled defensively since he returned. He hopes to turn it around for the second half.
Monthly Score: 2.0
Gucciardi played in six games in January. On January 13, in a game against Penn State, he took a major penalty for cross checking and earned a game misconduct. Fortunately, for Michigan State, they won the game, 3-2 in Overtime.
On January 14, Gucciardi assisted on the team’s first goal. Michigan State tied the game at 3:23, while on the power play, when Miroslav Mucha tucked home a loose puck in front after a blast from Gucciardi from the high slot. The game ended up as a 4-4 tie.
Miro gets his sixth of the year here to tie the game up at 1-1. pic.twitter.com/ByKcJrcpIP
— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) January 15, 2023
Michigan State lost 8-0 to the Minnesota Golden Gophers on January 27. Gucciardi led the team in blocked shots in the game, with four. One of those blocked shots prevented Snuggerud of Minnesota from scoring a goal.
Sam Sclar of the State News considered Gucciardi to be one of the bright spots of that game. He had good scoring looks but Minnesota’s goaltender, Justin Close, made great stops.
Michigan State accrued five back-to-back losses dating back to Dec. 10 and tumbled down six spots in the national rankings.
For the season, Gucciardi has played in 26 of the team’s 28 games. He has scored two goals and recorded four assists. He has 57 shots on goals and has blocked 34 shots.
Monthly Score: 3.0
On February 3 in Michigan States’ tilt against Norte Dame, Gucciardi had the secondary assist for the team’s third goal, an empty net goal at 19:08 during third period.
On February 4, Gucciardi scored the team’s third goal at 4:00 on a power play. He scored by launching a powerful one-timer from the left point. The goal held up as the game-winner. It was his first goal since October.
Gucciardi’s one-timer gives MSU back the lead. Absolute laser. pic.twitter.com/DLeDGCiUQx
— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) February 4, 2023
The Spartans faced the Wisconsin Badgers in Madison, Wisconsin on February 17 and 18 for their last games of their regular season, playing the series despite the mass shooting that had taken place on their campus. The Spartans won the first game on February 17 by a 6-2 score. Gucciardi scored the team’s third goal in that game at 18:47 of the first period, which put the Spartans up 3-0 and held up as the game winning goal.
Strong Friday night with No. 17 @MSU_Hockey winning in Madison, 6-2. 👏 pic.twitter.com/hisBI0Iegm
— Michigan State on BTN (@MichiganStOnBTN) February 18, 2023
During February, Gucciardi played in all six games that Michigan State played. He scored two goals and recorded no assists during the month.
For the season, Gucciardi has played in 32 of the team’s 34 games. He has scored four goals and recorded five assists. He has 74 shots on goal and has blocked 35 shots. During February, he played on the third defense pairing.
The Spartans earned the #5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, narrowly missing out on home ice. They will play a best-of-three series against fourth seeded Notre Dame next weekend (March 3-5).
Monthly Score: 3.0
Gucciardi and the Michigan State Spartans finished in fifth place in the Big Ten Conference and as a result, played in the Big Ten Conference Quarterfinals against Notre Dame on the weekend of March 3-5.
On March 4, the second game of the Quarterfinal series, Gucciardi had the secondary assist on the team’s first goal which occurred at 8:38 during the second period and evened the score at 1-1. Gucciardi also blocked five shots which was a career-best five for him.
Jeremy Davidson knots this one up at 1-1 with his eighth of the season. pic.twitter.com/iq47YmfRcG
— Michigan State Hockey (@MSU_Hockey) March 4, 2023
The win was the first-ever Big Ten Tournament win for the Spartans after a combined 0-13 through the first nine seasons of the league.
The Spartans went on to win the “rubber” game on March 5 by a 4-2 score. Gucciardi had a big shot block during a penalty kill, which at the time kept it a 3-1 game, but he had no goals or assists.
The win gave Michigan State University their first postseason series win since 2013 and allowed them to advance to the Semi-Finals to against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on March 11. Unfortunately for the Spartans, they lost to the Golden Gophers which finished the season for David Gucciardi and the Spartans.
For the 2022-23 season, Gucciardi played in 36 of the team’s 38 games. He scored four goals and recorded six assists. He had 83 shots on goal and blocked 46 shots. He scored no goals in the playoffs but recorded one assist.
Monthly Score: 2.5
As the Michigan State Spartans lost in the Conference Seim–Finals to the Minnesota Golden Gophers and Ryan Chesley in March, David Gucciardi’s season was done. Hence, there are no updates for April.
Monthly Score: 2.5
MONTHLY SCORE SUMMARY
Gucciardi will return for his Junior season this fall at Michigan State, where he will be looked to provide more of a leadership role for the Spartans. While scoring is not a major component of his game, he has shown he can setup the play. However, it will be his defense that defines his ceiling and potentially gets him to the next level, depending on his next two seasons.
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It’s rare for a 7th round pick to pan out but I think that Gucci has a good chance to play an NHL game at some point. It will be interesting to see if he ends up being choosing to sign with the caps. Sometimes it pays off to pick draft re-entries with lower picks. Although I still would’ve preferred Jack Devine with that pick, but I’m excited for Gucci regardless.
Pulling for The Gucc.
I remember in the prospect scrimmage this summer Gucci was on the same defense pairing as Vince Iorio.