Colorado Avalanche’s, Gabriel Landeskog, Should He Keep the “C”?

Feb 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) reacts to the lose to the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center. The Canucks defeated the Avalanche 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92) reacts to the lose to the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center. The Canucks defeated the Avalanche 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog still stands as the youngest-elected captain in NHL history. But is he serving the team well?

Should the Colorado Avalanche elect a new captain? Gabriel Landeskog (F) was elected captain at the beginning of a rebuilding project. He has been the captain through trials, controversy and poor efforts by the team. Or are the problems deeper?

First let me preface this with, I love Gabriel Landeskog’s game. There’s nothing about how he plays or conducts himself, that I don’t love. But…

Lately In the NHL

There’s been a rush lately  in the NHL to anoint the teams “youngest captain ever!” Starting with Sidney Crosby,(F), Jonathan Toews (F) and others. Colorado Avalanche in the midst of a rebuilding process followed suit by electing Gabriel Landeskog the youngest captain in the NHLs history.

At first it seemed like a cheesy promotion to bolster interest in a flagging franchise. Milan Hejduk (F) had just retired as the best player and captain on a .500  team 41-35-6 (88pts). Landeskog drafted number two overall from the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) in the 2011 draft was quickly installed as the new captain.

By the end of year two after the installation of Patrick Roy as coach the Cololrado Avalanche soared to  first place in the newly formed Central Division. What we didn’t know at the time was the Av’s house was built on sand.

Troubles On the Team

A contentious contract negotiation between Ryan O’Reilly (F) and the Colorado Avalanche drove a wedge  between O’Reilly and Matt Duchenne (F)   O’Reilly was reported to be following, what I thought at the time, was bad  advice from his father, held out after earlier signing an offer sheet with Calgary.

Matt Duchene a life long Colorado Avalanche fan before being drafted by the Av’s third overall from the Bramton Battalion(OHL) spoke with Mike Chambers “The Denver Post” after O’Reilly was traded, speaking of O’Reilly “If you give one guy too much or whatever it takes away from the rest of the team”(sic)…

I’m not holding Landeskog responsible for O’Reily’s contract negotiation style or Dutch’s feelings of Factors being disloyal to the Colorado Avalanche. Can you imagine any of this hitting the press when Joe Sakic was captain? Adam Foote.

Stretches of Poor Play Dogging Team

Most damning of all is the stretches of poor play during the last few years. Landy is a very talented young man but he’s only on the ice for what 18-20 minutes a game?

On the ice, vetran teams have learned to pinch their D’s without regard for cherry picking. The results, trap the Avalanche in their zone for long periods of time. Eventually wearing down an already depleted defensive core.

Responsible forwards trying to help relieve the pressure on the defense also get trapped down low, especially in the second period. The forwards have little energy for the rush if they’ve expended it on defense.

I dont know how a different captain woudve changed any of that?

What’s Really Wrong 

In 2009 The Colorado Avalanche drafted Matt Duchene (3rd), Ryan O’Reilly (33rd), Stefan Elliott (49th), Tyson Barrie (64th), since then? Landeskog, Calvin Pickard (G), Nathon MacKinnon (F) and Chris Bigras (D) and thats pretty much it.

Six drafts and only a couple of sure things is all theyve managed to squeeze out of the draft. Joey Hishon (F), was dogged with concussions early in his career and is now playing in Finland. Duncan Siemens (D), the last piece of the Eric Johnson (D), Kevin Shattenkirk (D) trade is languishing in the minors.

The cupboard being bare is the fault of the off ice management not the on ice captain.


Gabriel Landeskog is uniquely suited to being a captain. His European roots coupled with his coming up through the rough and tumble Major Juniors in Canada gives him a unique perspective.  It also gives him credibility with the North American players, Landy is no “soft Swede” having “dropped his gloves” several times in defending his teams honor.

I believe in Colorado Avalanche’s management group and yes I believe in Gabriel Landeskog as their captain. Together they need to form the on ice talent into a cohesive unit. The Colorado Avalanche have top talent at every level on the ice, goalie Semyon Varlamov, defenseman Eric Johnson, Tyson Barrie, forwards, MacKinnon, Duchenne and Landeskog are good start to finish what was began in 2009

Joe Sakic VP of Hockey Operations, Greg Sherman GM and a new coach yet to be hired, need to restock the minor league teams the San Antonio Rampage and the Colorado Eagles with talent and a winning attitude. Continue bringing along young talent and return to a team we all can be proud of.