There are only four active players in the NHL that have held the captaincy of their respective teams longer than Gabriel Landeskog has with the Colorado Avalanche.
The 2020-21 campaign marked the ninth season that Landeskog wore the Avs' 'C' on his sweater, and he once again showed the impact he is able to make in all aspects of the game.
As the second-longest serving captain in franchise history (Joe Sakic, 17 seasons), Landeskog recorded his fourth-straight and eighth career 20-goal season for the Avalanche last year. The left wing was tied for second on the team in tallies with linemate Nathan MacKinnon (20) and finished third overall with 52 points. Only Joe Sakic and Milan Hejduk--former Colorado captains themselves--have recorded more 20-goal campaigns in team history (both 11).
The Stockholm, Sweden, native also led the team in power-play goals (nine-tied), hits (81) and a 56.6 faceoff win percentage, which ranked 10th in the NHL and was the highest among all wingers during the season. The forward led the Avalanche and tied for third in the league with eight game-winning goals, including two of which that came in overtime.
Landeskog hit several milestones throughout the campaign, which began with him reaching 200 career NHL goals in the second game of the season on Jan. 15 versus the St. Louis Blues. He was the seventh player in franchise history and the fourth since the team moved to Denver to reach the mark.
Video: Gabriel Landeskog 2020-21 season
"You don't play the game to reach these milestones, you play the game to help the team win, and obviously scoring goals helps the team win and things like that," said Landeskog of his 200th marker. "It's just nice to get on the scoresheet and I am sure down the road, maybe when you're done, it's something you're proud of for sure."
Landeskog's favorite player growing up was fellow Swede and Avalanche great Peter Forsberg, and he surpassed his childhood idol for markers in the club's uniform in 2020-21. He scored his 202nd career goal to pass Forsberg for third place in the Avs' annals (since 1995-96) on March 1 at the San Jose Sharks and later tallied for the 218th time on May 12 versus the Los Angeles Kings to jump past "Peter The Great" for sixth all-time in Colorado/Quebec Nordiques history.
He continued to solidify himself in Avalanche history on March 20 against the Minnesota Wild when he dressed in his 660th career NHL game, moving past former teammate Cody McLeod for the fourth-most appearances in a Colorado uniform.
"It does make me feel a little bit old, but I mean it's nothing you think about," said Landeskog of the milestone. "You just try to prepare for every game and try to put the work in and all of a sudden time flies by, and yeah, it's crazy I guess when you think about it. Fiver (McLeod) was here for a long time, and I played with him for a long time."
On April 11, Landeskog joined the 500-point club when he scored and had two assists in a victory against the Anaheim Ducks. He became the second player from the 2011 NHL Draft class to reach the half-century mark (Tampa Bay's Nikita Kucherov) and the 29th Swedish player to accomplish the feat.
After producing three combined points in the final two games of the regular season against L.A. to help the Avalanche secure the West Division title and Presidents' Trophy, Landeskog began the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a Gordie Howe Hat Trick. Following a thundering hit on Ryan O'Reilly in the opening shift of the game, the Colorado captain scored, had two assists and fought Brayden Schenn in a 4-1 victory against the Blues in Game 1 of the first round.
Video: Toyota Game Recap: Landeskog's Gordie Howe Hat Trick
"Listen, playoffs, you start over, right? You know, your stats during the regular season don't matter. In fact, your postseason stats don't matter at all," Landeskog said afterward. "For us, it's about wins and losses and that is what it comes down to. Yeah, I'm happy that I was able to contribute, but as a team I thought we played a strong game."
It was Landeskog first career Howe Hat Trick (goal, assist and fight) and the Avs' first in the playoffs since Mike Ricci in Game 1 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Blackhawks on April 16, 1997.
Landeskog went on to finish tied for second on the team in postseason scoring with 13 points, contributing four goals while producing an Avs-leading nine assists. He continued his success at the dot as well, as his 60-percent win percentage in faceoffs ranked second overall in the postseason (minimum of 70 attempts).