Welcome to “get to know your Avs”! This feature will take a look at current Avalanche players (and maybe some staff, too) to give you an idea as to just who these guys are and what they mean to the Avalanche.
Yes, some (or most) of you will already know these guys but don’t be party poopers; nobody likes party poopers.
Today, we start withEl Capitan– Gabriel Landeskog.
Who: Gabriel Landeskog
Nicknames: Landy, Gabe (to those swooning over him)
How He Came to Denver: 2nd overall pick, 2011 Draft
What he’s done: Landeskog made the jump to the NHL as a fresh-face 18-year-old, making the Avalanche out of camp. He impressed just about everyone that year, leading the team with 22 goals (the youngest player in franchise history to lead the team in goals, passing teammate Matt Duchene) and tied for the league lead in points by a rookie with 52. He would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as rookie of the year, beating outNew Jersey’s Adam Henrique andEdmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (the guy picked ahead of him).
Before the start of the 2012/13 season (which was subsequently delayed due to the lockout), Landeskog was named captain. At 19 years and 286 days, he became the youngest captain in NHL history, beating out Sidney Crosby by 11 days.
When play resumed in January, Landeskog and the Avs struggled. The team finished with the worst record in the league, Landeskog battled concussion issues on his way to a disappointing half-season.
What he means to the team currently: Landy will be the top left winger and return as captain. He, along with the rest of the young lads permeating the Avs’ top two lines, will be charged with making them not suck. Which is a tall task if you’ve looked at the state of their defense but Landy and Co. can help assuage that with goals. Lots and lots of goals.
He’s gritty, tough, talented, and (obviously) a leader. He means more to the team than just about anyone and if the Avs want to go anywhere, they’ll do it on the back of Landeskog.
What to expect: Concussions are scary, but Landeskog should rebound as long as he’s healthy. For most second overall picks that were forwards going back to 2000, they had their big breakout year in year two. Landy didn’t really have a “year two” so this is going to be the one. Expect a rejuvenated Landy to return to the lineup as a force of nature. He’ll be healthy for most of the season, he’ll top the 22 goals from his rookie year as well as the 52 points.
Look for the young Swede to hit the 30-goal mark and push 70 points as he helps bring the Avs out of the basement. He’ll also lead the league in swoons (an unofficial stat).
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