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Behind The Bench: Gabriel Landeskog

by on 09/06/2011

Vitals

Born:  Stockholm, SWE
Birth date: November 23, 1992
Height: 6’1” (185 cm)
Weight: 205 lbs (93 kg)
Position: Left Wing
Shoots: Left
NHL Draft: 2nd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in 2011
NHL Team: Colorado Avalanche
Jersey No.:  #92
National Team: Sweden
NHL Contract: 13/14
Cap Hit: $3,575,000

History

Landeskog spend the majority of the 2008-09 season with Djurgardens IF in Sweden’s Junior-20 league. He played in 31 games and scored 7 goals and 14 assists, good for 21 points.  After a successful season with Djurgardens IF, Landeskog made his debut in the Elitserien with Djurgarden, where he played 3 games and recorded 1 point. Landeskog was one of the youngest players to every play in the Eliteserien and the youngest player in Djurgarden’s history. For his solid season, the Plymouth Whalers drafted him 3rd overall in the CHL Import Draft.

Landeskog moved to North American on his own for the 2009-10 season where he roomed with Jeff Skinner and joined the Kitchener Rangers after his rights were traded from the Plymouth Whalers. Landeskog finished his rookie season with 24 goals and 22 points, good for 46 points. Landeskog finished the season third among OHL rookies in scoring, behind Boone Jenner (49) and Matt Puempel (64) and goals, behind Puempel (33) and Ivan Telegin (26). Among the team, he was third overall in scoring and finished as the teams highest scoring rookie. Landeskog also played in 20 OHL playoff games and tallied 8 goals and 15 assists for 23 points.

Near the beginning of the 2010-11 season, Landeskog was named captain of the Kitchener Rangers. The announcement made Landeskog the first European Captain in franchise history. Landeskog only played in 53 games during the 2010-11 season due to an injury but still applied 36 goals and 30 assists, good for 66 points. He played well enough through 53 games that the Colorado Avalanche drafted him 2nd overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. On June 28, 2011, he signed a three-year NHL entry level contract with the Avalanche.

Talent Analysis

Landeskog is a skilled two-way forward with offensive upside. He is not your typical Swedish player as  he loves to take the body and lay a good hit. Landeskog has good speed, acceleration, and is an overall strong skater. He possesses great hockey sense, anticipation, doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas on the ice and loves to battle along the boards. All of Landeskog’s skills are above-average but what set him apart from the other players in his draft class is his excellent leadership qualities and attitude. Landeskog’s maturity is very surprising for a 19-year old. He sticks up for his teammates and is strong at both ends of the rink. Landeskog plays the game with so much passion and he plays so hard that he is a great mentor for players young and old.

Landeskog is a terrific all-round talent who is capable of both distribution and sniping. He is the type of player that can hurt you with a big hit, set-up a linemate, score a clutch goal, or come up with a huge block on a penalty kill. Landeskog is most often compared to Mike Richards, although personally, I think a closer comparison is that of Ryan Kesler.

Like RNH, there are very few things you can pick out about Landeskog’s game that needs improvement. Landeskog will need to continue to get stronger to be able to dominate at the NHL level. Increasing the power of his shot and quickness of his first step are areas where he should improve in as he matures and continues his development.

Future

There is no doubt Landeskog will become the heart and soul of the Colorado Avalanche like Ryan Kesler is to the Vancouver Canucks. He is a NHL-ready prospect and is expected to make the jump to the NHL next year. He has all the skills to make the team next season and it also doesn’t hurt that his cap hit will get the Avalanche to the cap floor. Expect Landeskog to be Matt Duchene’s winger in the near future. The two of them will become one of, if not the best, young duo’s in the league. Don’t be surprised to see Landeskog top 100 points with Duchene as his pivot. Landeskog will spend his rookie season neck and neck with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the Calder Trophy and will finish the season with 60+ points.

NHL Highlights

  • 2010-11 Drafted 2nd overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft

Career Highlights

  • 2007-08 J18 Allsvenskan Champion
  • 2008-09 TV puck Most Goals (9)
  • 2008-09 U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team Sweden
  • 2008-09 Youngest player to play in Djurdarden history
  • 2008-09 Drafted 3rd overall in the CHL Import Draft
  • 2009-10 Kitchener Rangers Rookie of the Year
  • 2009-10 OHL First All-Rookie Team
  • 2010-11 Named Captain of the Kitchener Rangers

Career Stats

Eliteserien: 3 GP, 0 G, 1 A, 1 Pts
International-Jr:
35 GP, 21 G, 13 A, 34 Pts
J18 Allsvenskan:
13 GP, 6 G, 3 A, 9 Pts
J18 Allsvenskan Playoffs:
4 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts
J18 Elit:
18 GP, 11 G, 14 A, 25 Pts
OHL:
114 GP, 60 G, 52 A, 112 Pts
OHL Playoffs:
27 GP, 14 G, 19 A, 33 Pts
SuperElit:
32 GP, 7 G, 14 A, 21 Pts
SuperElit Playoffs:
6 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 Pts
TV-Pucken:
8 GP, 9 G, 8 A, 17 Pts
U16 SM:
7 GP, 11 G, 2 A, 13 Pts
WJC-18:
6 GP, 4 G, 0 A, 4 Pts
WJC-20:
1 GP, 1 G, 1 A, 2 Pts

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