Earlier this week, we here at The Only Colors mentioned that two of Michigan State’s defensemen, David Gucciardi and incoming 2023-2024 player Jack Sparkes, could be selected in this year’s NHL first-year entry draft. Well, both players’ NHL dreams are now even closer to becoming a reality.
In his last season as a freshman for Michigan State, Gucciardi tallied five goals and six assists. His obvious skills include the ability to move the puck up the ice and create scoring chances for the offense. He still has a lot to improve on as a player, however.
Sparkes has one huge asset: his size. He stands at a towering 6-foot-8 and 213 pounds. His wingspan was the third-longest at this year’s NHL Draft Combine. The defenseman spent last season with the St. Michael’s Buzzers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. In his 37 games for the Buzzers, he collected five goals and seven assists. However, as mentioned, he won’t join Michigan State until his freshman season in 2023-2024.
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman said this about Sparkes:
“Sparkes’ athletic tool kit is very appealing. He’s a 6-foot-8 defenseman who is quite mobile for his frame. He’s not a blazer but when you see him come up the ice you can easily envision that tool kit in the NHL. Sparkes uses his body, has a big slap shot and has flashes of puck skills, making him a highly appealing pro prospect for several reasons. His offensive game is a long ways away though, showing little poise or puck-moving ability. He will be a three-to-four year guy in college, but if he hits, he could be a player.”
Meanwhile, Gucciardi is the fourth member of MSU’s current roster to be drafted into the NHL. All four drafted players are defensemen. Returning fifth-year seniors Cole Krygier and Christian Krygier, incoming freshman Viktor Hurtig and now Gucciardi are all NHL prospects assigned to teams.