Where Does Landeskog Fit In?

Now that we are a few weeks into free agency, we now have a good idea of what the Colorado Avalanche roster will look like next season. Training camp is right around the corner and there are plenty of players that are “on the bubble” and challenging for spots. One of those players is 2011 second overall pick Gabriel Landeskog.

[caption id="attachment_159" align="aligncenter" width="432" caption="Colorado Avalanche Left Wing Gabriel Landeskog (photo from thescoutingreport.org)"][/caption]

Landeskog is an 18-year-old left winger who was considered one of the most NHL-ready and complete players in the draft. With a forward corps that lacks depth, it isn’t unthinkable that Landeskog could follow in Avalanche center Matt Duchene’s footsteps and make the team in his draft year.

Landeskog is a prototypical power forward who can create space for not only himself, but also for his linemates. He has the talent and speed to keep up with Duchene, but also possesses the defensive awareness and poise that almost every 18-year-old lacks.

With any young athlete, the management and coaching staff doesn’t want to rush a prized prospect into the toughest leagues in sports if they aren’t ready. In Landeskog’s case, Colorado must be careful not to just hand him the job. He is clearly deserving of a spot on the top two lines, but it is important that he earn the spot. As an 18-year-old kid drafted second overall it isn’t hard to buy into the hype that surrounds you. While I don’t know Landeskog personally, I hear good things about his mental makeup and ability to stay level-headed. Head Coach Joe Sacco has proved in his short tenure that he is willing to keep the best players available regardless of age or experience.

If Landeskog can stay focused in training camp and play how he knows how to play, I believe he will not only make the club, but play with Duchene on either the first or second line. If Sacco goes with a veteran line up front such as Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk, and David Jones, look for Landeskog to play on the second line with Duchene and another winger.

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