Colorado Avalanche Forward Gabe Landeskog’s Invaluable Intangibles

Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Avalanche forward Gabe Landeskog has missed the last five games, and it appears he’s close to returning; still, the Avs are certainly missing his presence on the ice.

I doubt anyone thought Gabe Landeskog would miss this much time for the Colorado Avalanche when the injury was first announced. Unfortunately, it appears — at the time of writing this — like he is slated to miss Tuesday’s game against the Nashville Predators as well.

That’s bad news for the Avs, even though they have been a respectable 2-2-1 in his absence. Nonetheless, that winning percentage needs to go up if the Avs want to stay in the playoff race. And, a return from Landy would certainly help there.

Obviously he’s the captain of the team, so he’s the main voice in the locker room, or at least one of the leading ones.

Which means that he brings structure to the locker room chemistry. And, that’s probably the most important thing that the Avs are missing right now. Sure, Landy’s on-ice abilities are also extremely important, but Landy is the leader of this team, thus the leader of the locker room.

Nonetheless, his on-ice abilities certainly can’t just be shirked either.

What Does Gabe Landeskog Bring to the Team On the Ice?

Gabe Landeskog is No. 4 overall on the team with a Corsi-for percentage of 52.3 percent. Only Nathan MacKinnon, Jarome Iginla, and Joe Colborne have higher percentages. However, only Nathan MacKinnon plays minutes that are comparable to Landeskog’s both in quantity and difficulty.

More from Mile High Sticking

Furthermore, even though Landeskog has had a somewhat slow year in production — with just eight points in 15 games — he brings a hard-nosed style to the ice.

Landy will always follow through with his checks, will always pressure the puck on the forecheck, and will create a bunch of turnovers along the boards.

More From Mile High Sticking: Avs Have Two Defensemen on Exempt List from Expansion Draft

In other words, Landeskog plays tough defensive minutes, and comes through with production. He leads the team in takeaways by a wide margin with 22. And, he has also only given the puck away five times this season.

Finally, he starts 53.6 percent of his shifts in the defensive zone, while also averaging 13:43 in even-strength ice time. That’s the most time on ice averaged by a forward at even strength with that high of a defensive zone start percentage.

More From Mile High Sticking: Calvin Pickard’s Case for the No. 1 Goalie Position

Essentially, Landeskog is a pivotal part to this team, and he does a lot more than just produce points. He is a defensive beast, and the Avs need that back in their forward lineup in the worst of ways.


Unfortunately — as I said earlier — it appears like Landeskog is going to miss his sixth consecutive game on Tuesday night. The Colorado Avalanche will play the Nashville Predators in the Pepsi Center at 7:00 pm MST for that contest.

That’s a game that the Avs could certainly use Landeskog for because the Predators are a pretty gifted team in all facets. They have active defense, and some formidable forwards. Which is why it would be nice to have Landeskog on the forecheck.

Next: Nathan MacKinnon Making Presence Felt for Avs

Apparently there will be an update on Landeskog’s status at the conclusion of Monday’s practice. So, check on his status intermittently throughout the day, and you should be able to get an accurate timeline for his return.

Hopefully that’s sooner rather than later because as you can see he brings a lot of intangibles to the ice that the Avs are just simply incapable of replacing.