With one season as the NHL's youngest captain under his belt, Gabriel Landeskog had his best pro campaign in 2013-14. Under new head coach Patrick Roy, Landeskog and the Avs had a marvelous turnaround that included 52 wins and a division title.
Helping fuel the Avs' turnaround last season was Landeskog, who posted 65 points on 26 goals and 39 assists and also added 176 hits in 81 games. These career-high totals in goals, assists, points and hits were good for second on the team in each respective category.
The winger also played a key leadership role for Team Sweden at the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. He was named an alternate captain after an injury forced Henrik Sedin to miss the games.
In six games for his national team, Landeskog had one assist as he mostly played a defensive role on the veteran squad. He would earn a silver medal after he and Sweden fell to fellow Colorado teammate Matt Duchene and Team Canada in the final.
Upon returning from Sochi, Landeskog was ready to help the Avs clinch a playoff spot for the first time in his career. The team also continued to climb in the standings and ended up beating Chicago and St. Louis for the Central-Division title on the final day of the regular season.
His all-around game allowed him to finish the season with a team-leading plus-21 rating, and he became the first Colorado player to score 25 or more goals and have a plus/minus of plus-20 or better since Alex Tanguay in 2003-04.
Landeskog started his first trip to the playoffs with a bang by picking up a goal in Game 1 and scoring two more in Game 2 to help the Avs jump out to a 2-0 series lead over the Minnesota Wild. Despite suffering a wrist injury early in the series, Landeskog managed to continue playing and added another assist before Colorado fell in seven games.
Despite the bittersweet finish to the season, Landeskog and the Avalanche are looking to build on what they accomplished in the 2013-14 campaign. With a core that features dynamic, young playmakers, the Avalanche has taken to winning and should be a force in the Western Conference for the foreseeable future.
Landeskog is positive about that future with the Avalanche.
“Once you get a taste of winning (at the start of the season we were 14-2) … it’s like a drug, and you don’t want to let it go," Landeskog said before the playoffs began. "We wanted to keep winning, and that’s what we are trying to do.”