An NHL lockout may very well take away much or all of Gabriel Landeskog’s 2012-2013 season, but there is now one thing no one can take away from him. Today the Colorado Avalanche named the 19-year-old Landeskog their new captain making him the youngest player to ever be honoured with the dstinction of wearing the fabled C on a permanent basis. On the 286th day of his 19th year, Landeskog surpassed Sidney Crosby who was named captain by the Penguins also at 19 but on the 297th day.
Although the announcement may come as a surprise to some people given the fact that the Avs feature long time forward Milan Hejduk and fellow young, budding stars like Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly, those who were familiar with Landeskog’s junior career with the Kitchener Rangers won’t be surprised at all. It was with Kitchener that the strong Swedish winger displayed a skilled but hard nosed style of play that Canadian hockey is known for. He also proved to have some tremendous leadership qualities both on and off the ice, quickly adapting to a new language to the point where you would be hard pressed to know that he is in fact a Swede.
In his rookie season with Colorado, Landeskog ranked in the top three in every major offensive category among rookies and at the culmination of the season he was rewarded for his consistent performance by taking home the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best first-year player. He was also arguably the Avs most consistent presence as he was the only player to appear in all 82 games, finishing third on the team in scoring with 52 points and owning a team best +20 rating.
He becomes just the fourth captain for the Colorado franchise following Joe Sakic, Adam Foote, and Milan Hejduk.