24-Year-Old Left Wing – Colorado Avalanche
Gabriel Landeskog Contract Information:
Signed a seven-year, $39 million extension with the Avalanche in August 2013.
Landeskog pounced on an errant Brian Campbell pass and beat Scott Darling with a wraparound goal while shorthanded for his 17th of the season Tuesday against Chicago.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Despite finishing last in the division, the Avalanche still received a very productive year out of their captain, who was tied for the team scoring lead with 59 points in 82 games. Landeskog also notched a career-high eight power-play goals, finished among the top 50 in the NHL with 214 shots on goal, and posted his second consecutive 70-PIM season. Locked into roles in the Avs' top six and top power-play unit and with an expected rebound from linemate and former Calder Trophy winner Nate MacKinnon, it's quite possible that Landeskog will return to the 60-point mark for the second time in his career in 2015-16. And even if the supporting cast around Landeskog fails to return to their 2013-14 levels to buoy his plus/minus rating, the winger's serviceable counting totals across almost every relevant category give him a solid floor for fantasy owners to work with.
Landeskog supplied 26 goals and 39 assists to the scoring machine that was the Avalanche last season, joining Matt Duchene, rookie sensation Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan O'Reilly and the departed Paul Stastny in the 20-plus goal club. The Swedish captain also fired his fair share of rubber on net, posting a shot total of 222 that was second on the team only to MacKinnon's 241. At just 22, it's hard to believe that the 2011 second overall pick has just two full NHL seasons under his belt, especially since he was an excellent fantasy contributor across every category last year (plus-21, 71 PIM, five power-play goals to go with his 65 points) after a very disappointing 17-point performance in the 36-game lockout-shortened campaign one year prior. Look for Landy to play a prominent role again in 2014-15, but be aware that he spent the majority of his time alongside center Paul Stastny last year, so there could be an adjustment period as the Avs work him in with a new pivot (likely MacKinnon or Duchene), along with the newly-acquired Jarome Iginla on the opposite wing.
Landeskog missed a portion of the 2012-13 season with a concussion and he never really got into a groove. This season will be different. He's healthy and will line up on the team's second line alongside two playmaking veterans, Paul Stastny and newcomer Alex Tanguay. And he'll have loads of power-play time, too. Thirty goals and 65-70 points could be well within reach. And he might come as a relative bargain on draft day because of last year's production. Don't wait on him.
Landeskog had an outstanding first season in the NHL in 2011-12, winning the Calder Trophy for Rookie of the Year. “Landy” tied Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the rookie scoring title with 52 points and led all rookie forwards in a host of other categories, including plus-minus (plus-20), shots on goal (270), hits (219) and takeaways (58). Furthermore, he was the first rookie forward in NHL history to score 20+ goals and register 200+ hits. Looking ahead, it will no doubt be difficult for Landeskog to avoid the dreaded sophomore jinx this season. However, at just 19 yearsof age, Landy isn't even close to his prime yet and should continue to get better and better and better. Expect him to resume his role as top left winger for the Avs next season.
Landeskog, Colorado's second overall pick in this year's draft, is considered one of the few prospects thought to be NHL-ready now, and is expected to battle hard for a roster spot come training camp. Don't be surprised if he pulls a Matt Duchene and lands in the NHL straight from the junior leagues. Last season, despite an ankle injury that limited him to just 53 games with the Kitchener Rangers, Landeskog led his team with 36 goals and finished third with 66 points. Those of you in keeper leagues, snap this guy up quick if he's somehow still available.