Here are five teams who would be potential fits for Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog.
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The Colorado Avalanche are embracing a full rebuild. Part of the implications of this include trading some very good players. One player who the Avalanche have expressed a willingness to trade is captain Gabriel Landeskog. Before Connor McDavid became captain of the Edmonton Oilers, he held the distinction of being the youngest captain in NHL history.
Perhaps asking him to be captain at such a young age is partly what caused the mess the Avalanche are in. But regardless of how he has done as their captain, Landeskog has some impressive numbers. The Avalanche forward has averaged 0.67 points per game during the regular season with 107 goals and 152 assists for 259 points in 385 games. He also has a relatively cheap annual cap hit at a shade over $5.57 million, though he is under contract through the 2020-21 season.
Landeskog is only 24 years old, meaning he is likely entering his prime. When his contract is up, he won’t even be 30 years old. So despite his rather long contract, teams will definitely express interest in him. But Landeskog still won’t be that cheap. Here are five teams who should consider trading for him.
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5. Carolina Hurricanes
Gabriel Landeskog could make some sense for the Carolina Hurricanes. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to add a proven two-way player like him into the fold. Especially since they no longer have Eric Staal. Also, the Hurricanes have a tad bit of a surplus in an area the Avalanche need – defense. Justin Faulk likely isn’t going anywhere.
Obviously, Noah Hanifin isn’t either. But Haydn Fleury could definitely be an option. He’s a very talented prospect who has been a victim of the numbers game in Carolina. It would probably take a first round pick on top of Fleury to trade for Landeskog, but he could immediately step in as their next captain.
Brandon Carlo is likely untouchable because the Bruins need more defensemen like him, not fewer. He’s a first pairing defenseman already. Jakub Zboril, however, could be a part of the package. It’s likely a first round pick will be involved as well. The Bruins could also offer young forward Ryan Spooner if Colorado would rather have an NHL ready player. If the Avalanche would like an NHL ready defenseman, Colin Miller could be an option.
However, there is the issue of Landeskog’s cap hit. The Bruins future doesn’t look too good, even considering Zdeno Chara’s retirement likely happening soon. Boston can’t really afford to have two high priced guys not producing. So far, David Backes (through no fault of his own) isn’t producing. Trading for Landeskog would be undeniably risky. But it’s a risk they must at least consider.
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3. Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks and Avalanche could be perfect trade partners. While the Ducks are looking to add to their forward core and have a surplus of defensemen, the Avalanche would like to move a forward. Just like Anaheim would be a fit for Matt Duchene, they’d be a solid fit for Gabriel Landeskog as well. Perhaps he’d even be a slightly better fit, considering the Ducks need wings more than they need centers.
It could get interesting, depending on who Colorado would like to get in a return. Sami Vatanen might be an option, though this might be more of a straight up trade than one involving a draft pick. Cam Fowler could be one as well. If the defenseman is involved in the trade, a second round pick is likely going to Colorado as well. Probably not a first round pick though.
But if the Avalanche want a prospect and a first round pick, Shea Theodore might be their best bet. Landeskog would slot right onto Anaheim’s second forward line. He might even be a good fit for their first forward line, though he’s likely better in a shutdown role with Ryan Kesler than an offensive role with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
The Minnesota Wild need to add a star forward. Sure, their well-balanced offense is actually working pretty darn well. The Wild don’t really rely on any one player or line. Rather, they get contributions from all over their lineup. As the Pittsburgh Penguins proved in the playoffs last year, that’s a mighty fine strategy. But keep in mind they had star forwards while the Wild don’t.
Their plan A is probably trading for Matt Duchene. He’d give them the boost they need. However, plan B might be Gabriel Landeskog. The Avalanche forward would give them a good amount of offense while also fitting in perfectly with them defensively. Minnesota has precisely what the Avalanche want, so even though they are in the same division, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin would be the two most likely candidates to be traded to Colorado. Brodin is under contract for a longer period while Dumba has more upside. But can the Wild really afford to add another huge contract to their team? Keep in mind they already have Ryan Suter and Zach Parise signed to significant contracts. Of course, if trading for Landeskog helps them win a Stanley Cup, who cares?
The Los Angeles Kings have a very complicated salary cap situation. However, they might be able to squeeze in Gabriel Landeskog. It would be worthwhile for them to explore every option available. They certainly have interest. Last season, the Kings had a perfect wing for Anze Kopitar in Milan Lucic. However, they weren’t able to keep the big power forward long-term, as he signed with the Edmonton Oilers. The Kings weren’t able to replace him effectively. However, trading for Landeskog would give Kopitar a quality wing for the next four full seasons.
He certainly wouldn’t come cheap though. The Avalanche will likely want a defenseman in return. Considering how good Landeskog is, it could cost them someone like Alec Martinez. Jake Muzzin might be an option, but do the Kings really want to get rid of one of their best defensemen? Even if it’s for someone like Landeskog? The Kings might not have much of a choice, unless they want Dustin Brown, for some odd reason.