2011-2012 Calder winner Gabriel Landeskog will seek to avoid slumping in his next season which many refer to as the “Sophomore Slump”. Landeskog was drafted 2nd overall in the 2011 draft by the Colorado Avalanche and was immediately inserted into the roster as a top 6 forward. Landeskog had a great rookie campaign where he ranked 1st on the team with 22 goals and ranked 3rd with 52 points. He adjusted to the NHL speed well and at only 19 he wasn’t afraid to put the body on anyone. He also surprisingly led the team with a +20 and showed his ability to play a solid defensive game as well. He contributed to the special teams and was very aggressive on the penalty kill. The young Swedish forward has already proven to be a top 6 forward for the Avalanche, but will he be able to avoid a slump in his 2nd season?
We have seen the slump happen to a few players in the past. Tyler Myers had 48 points in his rookie campaign, but only 37 the following year. His play also seemed a little shaky during the first half of the season, but regained some composure in the second half. After an unbelievable rookie season, Steve Mason’s numbers dropped across the board and seems to be on a steady decline since then. A few other players have seemed to fall prey to the sophomore slump, but will the same fate happen for Landeskog?
While teams will be more aware of Landeskog and his scoring abilities, the Avalanche can freely bounce Landeskog from line to line as they now have 3 consistent lines. With the acquisition of PA Parenteau and Jamie McGinn stepping up his game after being traded, the Avalanche look to be contenders this year. Even if Landeskog starts to slump on a line with Ryan O’Reilly, the Avalanche can easily swap him to a line with Matt Duchene or Paul Stastny. What will help Landeskog avoid a sophomore slump in the upcoming season will be the options of quality centers Landeskog will have to play with. Hopefully this new found offensive depth for the Avalanche will propel them into the playoffs, but they will need consistency from their young players in Landeskog, Duchene, McGinn, and O’Reilly.
So what do you think? Will Landeskog avoid a sophomore slump? Comment here or follow me on twitter @TonyMoreno20.