After locking up Matt Duchene last month, the Colorado Avalanche have signed another one of their key young forwards to an extension as they announced they have signed their captain, left winger Gabriel Landeskog, to a seven-year contract reportedly worth $39 million ($5,571,429 cap hit). Landeskog has one year remaining on his entry-level contract so the extension will kick in at the beginning of the 2014-2015 season.
Landeskog, 20 (21 in November), was born in Stockholm, Sweden, but played junior hockey in the OHL. After playing for Djurgarden’s youth teams, as well as a handful of games for their big club, Landeskog was selected in the first round (third overall) by the Plymouth Whalers in the 2009 CHL Import Draft. However, his rights were traded to the Kitchener Rangers on August 4th. In his first season with the Rangers, Landeskog totaled 46 points (24-22) in 61 games and 23 points (8-15) in 20 playoff games. He was named captain of the Rangers the next season becoming the first European captain in Kitchener Rangers history. That season, he had 66 points (36-30) in 53 games and 10 points (6-4) in 7 playoff games. This led the Colorado Avalanche to draft him second overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. In his first season with the Avs, Landeskog had 52 points (22-30) in 82 games and a +20 rating. That off-season, he was named the Colorado Avalanche’s captain, which made him the youngest captain in NHL history. This past year, Landeskog had just 17 points (9-8) in 36 games as the team struggled all year.
In a statement, Avalanche executive vice-president of hockey operations and Avs great Joe Sakic said “Gabe is and will continue to be a large part of the foundation of this hockey team for many years to come. Signing our captain to a long-term extension demonstrates the commitment of [owners] Stan and Josh Kroenke to this franchise and to our fan base. In just two seasons, Gabe has already proven to be a great asset to our organization both on and off the ice. The fact that he has agreed to a long-term deal shows that he believes in this team, his teammates and the direction of this franchise moving forward.”
Landeskog had this to say about the extension ” I would like to thank the Kroenke family and the entire Avalanche organization for their trust and belief in me, I love Colorado and I love being a part of this wonderful community. There is no other place I’d rather be than in Denver wearing the Avalanche logo. I am looking forward to training camp and the upcoming season.”
As for where he will play on the Avalanche this season, head coach Patrick Roy has said that Landeskog will be the second line left-winger with veteran Alex Tanguay on the right-wing and Paul Stastny at centre. However, if top pick Nathan MacKinnon plays well enough, he could bump Stastny from the second line centre role. Going beyond this upcoming season, Landeskog could be able to surpass current top line left-winger Ryan O’Reilly and play with MacKinnon or Matt Duchene on the first line. The right-wing job would be up for grabs between Tanguay, P.A. Parenteau and even Steve Downie as the Avs don’t have a right-wing prospect capable of playing as a first liner as of right now.
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