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Gabriel Landeskog makes a serious Calder statement

Mar 13, 2012, 12:57 AM EDT

When the Colorado Avalanche made Gabriel Landeskog the second overall pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, one of his biggest selling points was his NHL-readiness.While Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made the splashiest early impact, one could argue that the sentiment still holds up because RNH’s body didn’t exactly, well, hold up.

Either way, Landeskog is making a strong argument for the 2012 Calder Trophy and tonight’s overtime game-winning goal (Colorado beat Anaheim 3-2 in OT) might be the lead moment of his highlight reel.

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OK, so it’s not exactly Michael Jordan’s “flu game” but Landeskog deserves some credit for toughing it out. Landeskog spoke about being the only rookie to lead his team in scoring in the video below.

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(Landeskog also broke a quirky record: he’s now the all-time Avalanche rookie leader in shots on goal.)

So where does Landeskog rank among the Calder candidates? Here’s a quick survey:

Points: second with 44 (Adam Henrique leads with 46 in 10 fewer games)

Goals: Tied for first with Matt Read at 19

Assists: Third with 25

Plus/minus: first overall with +20 (I’m not a fan of the stat, but it’s fairly impressive and voters probably will dig it.)

Game-winning goals: second with four (Read leads with five)

Time on Ice: eighth overall with 18:27 minutes per game, first overall among forwards

As you can see, if you were to argue Landeskog’s case, you’d spotlight versatility. He’s doing a little of everything and excelling in most areas. Landeskog is playing a significant role on a team fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot.

In fact, some might argue that the Avalanche’s postseason chase might just define Landeskog’s Calder argument. Who’s your pick for the Calder so far?

  1. laurely515 - Mar 13, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    I probably haven’t seen enough of Landeskog to be able to pick who’s been more deserving of the Calder so far, but Matt Read’s had a really good season.

    The article mentions that he’s tied for the lead in goals and leading in GWGs, but more important than that, I think, has been how versatile he’s been. He’s been moved up and down the lineup (I have no proof of this, but I’m pretty sure he’s played on a line with every forward on the Flyers), he’s contributed on the powerplay, sometimes even playing the point, and he’s been one of the best penalty killers on the team, which is even more impressive considering he’s been paired with another rookie forward, Sean Couturier, pretty much all season.

    Like I said, I don’t know if this puts him ahead of Landeskog, but he definitely needs to be in the conversation.

    • firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:02 AM

      Matt Read is a 25 year old rookie who won’t be nominated for the Calder

      Not even close to Landeskog, won’t be in any conversation

      • cmutimmah - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM

        Read will be nominated. Doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll be nominated, but won’t get it. Henrique is probably his stiffest competition. I think it goes to Landeskog but ONLY because Henrique missed almost a month and Landeskog has turned it on of late.

      • firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        No he won’t

        Yes it does to voters

        Hype will get RNH more votes than Read
        Henrique then Gabriel

        So start practicing your lamenting over how your Matt Read didn’t even get nominated now so you will be ready in a few months.

  2. firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:01 AM

    You don’t need to be a fan of Plus/Minus to understand that when he is plus 20 while the rest of the team is -3 he is a defensive force, ala Forsberg.

    • firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:04 AM

      Oh and he will be wearing the C in Colorado soon and for a long long time

      • cmutimmah - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM

        He needs to learn how to pass the puck. He gets the puck and goes straight at the net 9 out of 10 times. If he wants the C, he’ll need to play a team game in the offensive zone.

        He’ll be good, but you’re one both knees proclaiming he’s Forsberg? Slow your roll…

      • andidee15 - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        Chances are actually good that O’Reilly will get the C next year if/when Hejduk retires, but there is no doubt that Landeskog will be one of the major leaders on the team for years and years to come.

        He’s not Forsberg – the two of them play different styles of hockey – but he definitively has been solid defensively this year. Still, Landeskog is going to be a major player in Colorado for quite some time. He may never reach Forsberg levels, but he’ll certainly carve out his own legacy with the Avs.

      • firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:14 PM


        “Goes straight to the net 9 out of 10 times”

        And thinks this is a bad thing

        A COACH you are not

      • firstandonlywarning - Mar 13, 2012 at 12:16 PM

        And Andii where did you struggle to understand that when I say “he’s been a defensive force ala Forsberg” that it means anything more than his defensive game?

        Seriously some of you people need to understand the English language better before replying to specific comments here.

  3. thehockeytalk - Mar 13, 2012 at 4:03 AM

    He is amazing!

  4. martysbetter - Mar 13, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    I think one of Henrique’s major selling points is going to be his stats on the PK – He’s tied for the NHL lead with 4 SHG and 7pts on the PK overall. I think this demonstrates unbelievable poise in pressure situations for a first year player.

    Also, Henrique only has 7 PIM to Landeskog’s 43 PIM – I haven’t seen much of Landeskog, but Henrique’s poise and discipline is incredible for a rookie, he has never looked out of place centering the top line for New Jersey.

    • andidee15 - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM

      Landeskog plays a different game than Henrique. I’d bet that over half of those PIM are from goaltender interference calls. Landy’s our top power forward, and that type of penalty is just going to be a by-product of the role he plays on the team.

  5. andidee15 - Mar 13, 2012 at 11:42 AM

    Landeskog has been the Avs MVP this year. He plays like a vet in all situations – PP, PK, and when the team needs a big goal or big stop – and has been the only consistent player all year. Duchene and Stastny decided not to show up this season, so Landeskog and his linemate, Ryan O’Reilly, have been single-handedly carrying this team since October. They face off against the top lines and have the most defensive responsibility of any of the forwards on the team, yet the two of them lead the team in points.

    But here’s the thing – Landeskog makes his linemates better. O’Reilly did a lot of hard work over the summer to get better, but during his first two seasons in the league, he scored 26 points. This year, he’s at 51. There is absolutely no doubt that Landeskog helped him get there, and in turn, he’s helped mentor Landy to where Landy’s already solid defensive game has gotten even better. It’s very much a two-way street, unlike Henrique’s situation where playing with Parise and Kovalchuk all year has probably inflated his numbers a bit.

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