One of the most disappointing aspects of the NHL lockout, which obviously had a score of disappointing aspects, was the fact that we were unable to see some of these young stars, like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog follow up their strong rookie campaigns.
In the case of Landeskog, it was a particularly large disappointment. Not long before the nonsense officially began, Landeskog was named the captain of the franchise, supplanting Milan Hejduk as the face of the Colorado Avalanche. Some questioned the move, given that Landeskog is just 19, but there was sound logic behind it.
There’s a reason that Landeskog won the Calder Trophy over Nugent-Hopkins, who was just a bit more hyped as the no. 1 overall pick. He stepped right in for the Avs and made an impact, in almost every single facet of the game. He was a force offensively and defensively. The scary thing for opponents is that he should only get better.
That last phrase is often a scary one. “Only get better.” We never actually know if a player is going to only go up from the level he played at in the previous season. But it’s not a stretch at all for one to assume that the only way for the game of Gabriel Landeskog to go is up.
Landeskog finished with 52 points last season. Nearly half of those came in the season’s final month. So as the season went on, Landeskog got better. He finished with 12 points on the power play and was a regular contributor on all special teams, whether the Avalanche were on the man advantage or trying to kill a penalty.
Heading into this 2013 season, Gabriel Landeskog is now the face of the franchise. He’s wearing the C, which is among the greatest distinctions in all of sports. He has a solid group of forwards around him. He’s going to be a special player for this team for a very long time. And we’ll get our first glimpse of that within the next few weeks.