Being born in Haiti made playing in the National Hockey League a strange occupation for Claude Vilgrain but he managed to suited up for 89 contests during his career. Vilgrain was a draft pick of the Detroit Red Wings, but a three-year stretch at the University of Moncton, and a multi-year stint with the Canadian National Team, which included the 1988 Olympics wore out the Red Wings patience. By the time the '88 Winter Games were over, Vilgrain was already property of the Vancouver Canucks, and it was with them that he made his NHL debut.
Vilgrain joined the Canucks right after the Olympics and suited up for 6 games where he scored a goal and an assist. The next year he failed to make the Vancouver roster out of training camp and was assigned to their farm club in Milwaukee. In March of that season, after putting up 22 points in 23 games for Milwaukee, the Canucks traded the right-winger to the New Jersey Devils.
Over the next two seasons Vilgrain only played ten games (four of them in the playoffs) for New Jersey but in 1991 he made the Devils club out of training camp and began the season with an NHL club for the first time in his career. Vilgrain played 71 games with the Devils, his first ? and only ? complete NHL season. After posting 19 goals and 46 points it seemed he was well on his way to steady employment, bu the following year he was limited to just 4 games and was released at year's end.
On August 3rd 1993 he signed a free agent deal with the Philadelphia Flyers and it was with them that he played his last games as an NHL player. Though the vast majority of season was spent with the Hershey Bears, he did get a two game call-up from the Flyers.
In 1994 he elected to return to the Canadian National Team and the following year he packed his gear and took his skills to Swtizerland where he signed on for the year. By 1997 he was playing in Germany spending time with the Frankfurt Lions and Schwenningen Wild Wings over the next two campaigns as a player. He spent his last two seasons back in Switzerland where he was one of the league's top 'imports' racking up points for the Biel.