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BSN’s Top 25 Avalanche Under 25 series is coming to a close as we rank the trio of young forwards who will likely come to define the Avalanche over the next decade. First up in the final three: the captain, the face of the franchise – Gabriel Landeskog.
Among our BSN Staff, half ranked Landeskog third overall and half ranked him fourth overall. Landeskog’s average ranking of 3.5 put him decisively in 3rd place ahead of #4 Ryan O’Reilly and #5 Tyson Barrie.
Who is Gabriel Landeskog?
It’s hard to believe that this upcoming season Gabriel Landeskog will play his 5th NHL season, serve his 4th season as an NHL captain, hit the 100 goal and 200 point benchmarks, and turn 23 years old. The Avalanche expected big things from Landeskog when they drafted him 2nd overall in 2011 and again when they doubled down and made him the youngest captain in NHL history in 2012. Despite some bumps in the road, Landeskog is growing as a leader and a player and delivering on his potential.
Gabriel Landeskog is a big two-way power forward who plays in all situations and excels in tough minutes. Since joining Colorado in 2011, Landeskog has been an analytics darling for the possession poor Avalanche, consistently ranking among the team’s best possession players. More than most Avalanche players, Landeskog is willing and able to put the puck on net from anywhere in the offensive zone, accumulating over 200 shots in each of his three full NHL seasons.
Landeskog may lack some of the natural offensive gifts of some of the Avs’ flashier forwards, but his consistent power game has made him an offensive leader on the team nonetheless. In 2014-2015 when Matt Duchene, Ryan O`Reilly, and Nathan MacKinnon all slumped offensively it was Landeskog who stepped up in combination with Jarome Iginla to lead the team in scoring.
It’s easy to be an accountable leader on a team when you’re as successful as the 2013-2014 Avalanche, but it’s much harder when your team struggles all season and finishes in the league’s bottom ten. Despite playing with an injured wrist for large chunks of the season, Landeskog, under the tutelage of longtime captain Jarome Iginla, led the Avalanche on and off the ice and showed significant growth and maturity in his duties as team captain.
What is the future for Gabriel Landeskog?
Maybe more than any other player on the Avalanche’s roster, Gabe Landeskog’s future in Denver appears secure. As the first captain of the”New Age,” Landeskog earned the trust and commitment of the Avalanche organization in a big way. Landeskog’s contract is the longest on the team, taking him through the 2021 season, and includes a limited no trade clause to keep the power forward in Colorado. In short, Gabriel Landeskog will be the face of the Avalanche franchise for years to come.
On the ice Landeskog took large strides towards becoming a dominant possession player this season and he should continue to improve as his game matures and the team around him improves. Because of his strong defensive play, Landeskog will always play tough minutes for the Avalanche, but, as the team improves their possession numbers on the whole, Landeskog will see more offensive minutes and have more opportunities to produce offensively.
Individually Landeskog should be hungry to improve his personal offensive numbers and continue to chase after his first 30 goal season, but the true test for the Avalanche captain will be leading his team back to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.