Gabriel Landeskog is apparently on the market and Flyers’ General Manager, Chuck Fletcher should be aggressively pursuing the 28-year-old winger. Especially if the Flyers part ways with either Jake Voracek or James van Riemsdyk.
Throughout the Flyers’ dismal season, we heard speculation of a culture problem inside the Flyers’ dressing room. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as the Flyers’ have gone through multiple coaches in the past eight years. Philadelphia fired Stanley Cup Champion coach Peter Laviolette. Craig Berube left Philly only to raise Lord Stanley’s prize in St. Louis. The Flyers then fired Dave Hakstol for failing to get the job done. The Seattle Kraken hired Hakstol to be their first Head Coach in franchise history.
That begs the question, is it the coaches or the players? Hakstol was by no means loved in the city. In fact, one could say he was never really given a fair shot. So what gives? If there is a dressing room issue with the core, it has to be addressed.
A way to change the narrative and potential dressing room issues is to bring in quality talent who are leaders. I give you the Colorado Avalanche Captain, Gabe Landeskog. Landeskog is an unrestricted free agent, with some reports that he and the Avalanche are not close to a deal. It is doubtful to think that Joe Sakic lets Landeskog walk. Also, there are reports that the St. Louis Blues are set to go all-in on signing Landeskog.
Is Landeskog Really Leaving?
By all accounts, Landeskog should be remaining in Colorado. However, Sakic needs to also re-sign Cale Makar, Philipp Grubauer, and Brandon Saad. The Avs have just over $25 mil in cap space. You can figure that Makar, who was on his ELC, made just over $800k. You could be safe to add another zero to the end of that number. The Avs pay their young talent. Colorado signed then 22-year-old, Mikko Rantanen for six years at $9.25 million AAV. Landeskog could safely project into the 7-8 million range. Grubauer being a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, I imagine will be getting a hefty raise.
Acquiring a player of Landeskog’s talents will not be easy. The Flyers are on the perennial playoff bubble every year. Landeskog has been playing with all-world players in Nathan MacKinnon and Rantanen. The Avs are usually in the favorites to win the cup. However, MacKinnon will be looking for a major payday in two years.
Landy the Leader
Landeskog was drafted second overall in the 2011 draft. He immediately made the Colorado roster. Colorado named him Captain the following season. Landeskog became the youngest captain in NHL history, eleven days younger than Sidney Crosby. Missing Curfew host, Shane O’Brien recently stated during an episode, that when Landeskog came to the Avalanche, you knew it was only a matter of time until he was going to be named captain. Connor McDavid has since claimed that title beating Landeskog by twenty days.
Landeskog has been born to be a leader. At the age of 16, he became the youngest player in the Swedish Hockey League. After one year he departed Sweden for Canada, where he played for the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL. He was named Captain, becoming the first European-born captain in the franchise’s history. Landeskog’s leadership style is one of accountability and setting the example. He wasn’t named captain because of his flashy play. In fact, flashy is probably not a good word to describe Landeskog. Landy appears, to those of us from afar, to be that quiet leader. The one who you can tell is confident by his body language.
In fact, former GM, Brian Burke, said on an episode of Spitting Chiclets that Landeskog’s interview was one that stood out. Co-host, Ryan Whitney responded, “That’s no surprise!” Burke went on to say that when Landeskog finished the interview, they wanted him to sit in on other interviews to help them talk with the other kids. Burke also believes Landeskog will be a GM in the league when his career is over.
A Power Forward that the Flyers Lack
Landeskog is a two-way power forward who is not afraid to dish out some hits!
He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie during the 2011-2012 season. His 52 points last season, 20 G/ 32 A, would put him at the Flyers’ scoring leader. Landeskog has scored over 500 points (218 G/294 A) in his ten-year career.
What sets Landeskog apart from the other Flyers’ forwards is his physical play. He dished out 81 hits last season. How many times are the Flyers in on a forecheck do you find yourself yelling at James Van Riemsdyk or Jake Voracek to “HIT HIM!”
Well, Landeskog does dish out some punishment. Only Scott Laughton and Nic Aube-Kubel hit more players. He is also a shot blocker, having stepped in front of 28 shots this season. He’s also not afraid to chuck ‘em.
Landeskog would be a great fit for the Flyers. He is a leader who holds himself accountable and is an instant upgrade to a Flyers team that was ranked fifteenth in goals scored and goals per game last season. Landeskog is well respected and leads by example. As much as I hope, wish, and pray Fletcher will go out and get him, I am not holding my breath. Regardless, the Avs’ captain would be a great fit for the Flyers.
Photo By: Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire