ABBA, the Swedish 70’s rock group currently enshrined in Cleveland due to their place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame may soon have competition in town for favorite Swedes. Rookie-of-the-Year Gabriel Landeskog could soon be playing for the AHL’s Lake Eerie Monsters according the Adrian Dater of the Denver Post. The Colorado Avalanche forward is about to be locked out by the owners like the rest of his NHL teammates. The Monsters are the Avs AHL affiliates.
The concept of a player playing in an organization’s system even though they are locked out of their talk market team is a little odd. I mean you don’t see the elementary school teachers in Chicago still instructing while the rest of the city is on strike. However, Gabriel Landeskog is signed to an entry-level contract with the club, which allows him to be sent to the minors.
Landeskog could sign overseas, but as Dater points out in his blog, there are several problems with such a signing. First, the Swedish Elite League is not going to allow NHL players to sign only as rentals, they will have to commit for the entire season. The KHL is allowing teams to sign three NHLers and one of them can be from somewhere other than Russia. This could open the door for Landeskog, but he would have to take out a huge insurance policy. If the new face of the Avalanche franchise was hurt overseas, it would hurt the team and his current contract.
Denver, Colorado is in the process of welcoming a CHL team to the city in the Denver Cutthroats. The team, named after a fish, is an affiliate of the Avalanche and Monsters and will feature two of the systems goaltenders. The team is likely to have a strong contingent of hockey fans in the city deprived of their NHL product.