Colorado left winger Gabriel Landeskog has seen his name pop up in trade rumors over the past few weeks. Despite that and the continued struggles that the team is having, he made it very clear to Mike Chambers of the Denver Post that he’s hoping to stick around:
“I want to be an Avalanche, to stay an Avalanche and be in Denver for a long, long time.”
It’s certainly easy to see the appeal that Landeskog would have league-wide. He’s just 24 years of age, at one point was the youngest team captain in NHL history, and already has four seasons of 50 points or more under his belt.
However, this year hasn’t gone particularly well, something that can pretty much be said for just about every Colorado player. Through 31 games this year, he has just eight goals and six assists, production that is comparable to the worst year of his career back in 2012-13.
Young power forwards with top six upside (or in this case, proven production) are hard to come by so GM Joe Sakic’s asking price has been quite high despite Landeskog’s struggles. Including this season, he has five years left on his contract with a cap hit of $5.57MM, an amount that may be difficult to fit in on another team given that many teams are in cap trouble. Accordingly, some have wondered if the better time to make a move with him would be the offseason when there could be more teams with the cap space to fit him in.
In the meantime, Landeskog is trying his best to not let the speculation get to him:
“Whether my name is floating around or not, I’m still approaching the game the same way. And that is to spread energy, be a good teammate, work hard and try to get better every day. Me being in trade rumors, that’s nothing I can control.”
More from the Central:
- When it comes to the surprising lack of production of Blues center Jori Lehtera, count GM Doug Armstrong among those that can’t quite put a finger on it, writes Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Lehtera has spent the bulk of the season alongside winger Vladimir Tarasenko. The Russian winger sits sixth in league scoring with 44 points in as many games yet Lehtera has just 13 points on the season in 39 outings. Armstrong isn’t focusing on the negative when it comes to Lehtera’s play, however: “All I know is Tarasenko is in the top three or four in scoring and Jori is the centerman. So there’s something happening positive with Jori and Vlad. Obviously the point total is the point total, but when he’s not producing points, he doesn’t hurt you defensively and that’s something I don’t think maybe a lot of people focus on. But we try and focus on that.”
- The penalty kill for the Stars has dropped drastically in recent weeks, notes Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. After killing just one of three power plays last night against the Sabres (the fifth time in their last eight games that they’ve allowed multiple goals on the penalty kill), they’ve now dropped to dead last in the league in success rate at just 74.4%. While speculation is starting to heat up about who GM Jim Nill may consider dealing, it’s quite likely that he’ll be on the lookout for some help defensively, either on the back end or up front. Dallas is just four points out of the last Wild Card spot and shoring up their penalty kill would go a long way towards trying to help close that gap.