The Edmonton Oilers have once again looked to the NCAA to find depth. Joseph Gambardella was an undrafted free agent who signed with Edmonton shortly after his senior season at UMass-Lowell, where he scored 18 goals and added 34 assists for 52 points in 41 games, which ranked him 9th overall in the nation.
Gambardella clocks in at #19 in our Top 25 Under 25 this summer, with most of us roughly in agreement to where he fits in:
Gambardella managed to suit up for 6 games with the Bakersfield Condors, picking up a goal and two assists. It’s a tiny, but decent sample. He’s a play making centre who is listed as 5’10 and 200 lbs. His career at UMass-Lowell saw steady upticks in his counting numbers (courtesy Elite Prospects):
His production arc is very similar to that of another undrafted NCAA player, Drake Caggiula. Chris Dilks as SB Nations college hockey site had a profile up on Gambardella just after the Oilers signed him.
In terms of where he fits, he’ll probably find himself on an offensive role with the Condors. The Oilers are pretty set at centre right now and have options with Draisaitl and Strome in terms of who they move around, but Gambardella might see some action as a call up in case of injuries.
Long term it’s hard to tell with the NCAA signees. There are success stories and then there are guys who end up permanently in the minors. It depends not just on ability but also opportunity. As a RH C, Gambardella has lots of opportunity on a team with few RH options.