Is Gabriel Landeskog Going to be a Beast Next Year?


Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog is not known for being a finesse player. Oh, the Avalanche captain — and onetime Calder Trophy winner — has finesse to his game. It’s just that the finer aspects of his game occasionally get overshadowed by his grit.

More from Avalanche News

Gabriel Landeskog is a power forward, see?

Over the 2014-15 season, I watched as Landeskog developed the more nettlesome aspect of his game. No joke, I was at a game in which he karate-chopped an opponent right where the shoulder padding ends at the neck. This is the type of move that would make the  well-known instigator on the Anaheim Ducks, Corey Perry, proud. (As long as it wasn’t directed at him, which it wasn’t.)

So, with both Avalanche GM Joe Sakic and head coach Patrick Roy stating they wanted the team to get both bigger and “more physical,” it seems as if the captain is going to lead the way. I say that judging by his tweeted workout regime, that is.

It all started with this ominous tweet some weeks ago in which Gabriel Landeskog had his legs ensconced in some odd contraption:

While some of us were entranced by the tableau of the cute dog with our, well, classically handsome captain, we also wondered what on earth was going on with that contraption. Turns out it’s a relatively new muscle recovery system from from NormaTec. Massaging action within the legs improves the blood circulation, which reduces swelling. This is supposed to allow athletes to train even harder. That’s all well and good, but I wondered why this system was necessary for an elite athlete.

Well, looks like Gabriel Landeskog is pushing himself to his limit. Though not a prolific tweeter, Landeskog is known to send out the occasional gem. (He even got national recognition last summer for tweeting out how awkward it was to wait for his girlfriend in Sephora, feeling awkward.) But he’s been surprisingly quiet this summer. Well, it looks like that’s because he’s been doing this:

The first time I saw a picture like this (it was of Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin) I wondered, “Why on earth is he running around with a parachute tied to his, well, backside?” But this is partyboy Tyler Seguin we’re talking about here, so I let it pass.

Later, while doing an article about off-season training, I decided to look it up. Well, it actually is a running parachute. The parachute — which is tied to the torso, not the backside — creates resistance when it expands during the run. Athletes use it as a training tool to build up leg strength. (Judging by the picture of Landeskog, it’s working — those thighs would do Martin St. Louis justice.)

Personally, I like teammate Erik Johnson’s reaction to the tweet:

Guess he’s not buying into the new fitness regime.

In any case, Landeskog is referring to his personal trainer, Andreas Öhgren, who has been a personal trainer in Landeskog’s hometown of Stockholm, Sweden, since 1998. Öhgren takes a holistic approach to physical training, and he also trains elite athletes in how to prevent injuries. (Pretty important when you’re a power forward like Gabriel Landeskog.)

So, visiting Öhgren’s Instagram, as Landeskog invited us to do, we can see that part of the fitness regime is running uphill.

That does look pretty grueling.

Now, up next we can see what amazing leg power all of this training is turning out:

The sheer power on Gabriel Landeskog’s push-off is amazing.

Hockey players do not live by leg strength alone — especially when you’re talking a power forward like Landeskog. Here Landeskog is working on his upper body strength:

Looks like his wrist is healed, by the way.

So, what does all this herald for the Colorado Avalanche’s 2015-16 season. Obviously, Gabriel Landeskog is building leg strength to his ultimate level. All of that power is certain to aid in explosive skating.

Upper body strength isn’t always prized among hockey players — some even see too much compact muscle as a hindrance to their endurance. However, we now return to Sakic’s and Roy’s edict that the Avalanche get bigger and stronger.

Gabriel Landeskog starts out at 6-foot-2, 200 pounds. Those numbers never really get updated, but it’s possible that upper body training is adding compact muscle. This type of strength can help him work in the corner and in the slot — Landeskog scores a lot of his goals from the slot.  Likewise, that kind of strength can help him keep defenders off the puck when he’s got it. It can also help him gain possession of the puck.

Landeskog can also use the increased strength in both lower and upper body for hits like this:

So, to answer the question, “Is Gabriel Landeskog going to be a beast next season?” It sure looks like the answer is yes.

Next: Get to Know Francois Beauchemin

Next: Landeskog vs Brown: Battle of the Power Captains

More from Mile High Sticking