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Landeskog Has Grown Up in 600 Games

Avalanche captain has been through plenty of life-changing moments in nine seasons

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

LAS VEGAS--A lot has changed in Gabriel Landeskog's life since he broke into the NHL as an 18-year-old rookie.

He's won the Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year, named the youngest captain in NHL history, played eight-plus seasons in the top league in the world, represented his country at the Olympics and has helped lead the Colorado Avalanche to four playoff series.

As he approached his 600th NHL game on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena where the Avalanche faces the Vegas Golden Knights, Landeskog reflected on how he went from a bright-eyed teenager to an adult while wearing Colorado's burgundy and blue colors.

"I guess that is the one thing, I've really grown up with this organization and have really matured and have had some life-changing moments," Landeskog said to ColoradoAvalanche.com. "But at the same time, I haven't really accomplished anything. Until we get that Stanley Cup, you know personal accolades and accomplishments don't really matter. I guess 600 is fun, but I would change that for 300 and a Stanley Cup."

Even in the last 100 games, Landeskog has hit several life milestones. Since playing his 500th contest on March 26, 2018, also in Vegas, the forward got married, and him and his wife Melissa welcomed the birth of their first child, daughter Linnea Rae, earlier this season on Nov. 1.

"I've really grown up with the Avs logo," Landeskog said. "Now getting to raise my own child as an Avs fan is exciting."

Video: Gabe Landeskog on 600 NHL Games

The Stockholm, Sweden, native is in his eighth season as team captain, being named to the position on Sept. 4, 2012 at 19 years and 266 days old. He is now the seventh longest serving captain in the league.

Jared Bednar has watched Landeskog's progression over the past four years while filling the role of Colorado's head coach, and he has seen his player take hold of the locker room and lead his teammates through good times and bad.

"I think he has really taken a step forward in that, his leadership role with the team and engaging guys and bringing in the young guys and helping them," Bednar said. "He's now one of the older guys on the team and has lots of experience and is very well respected."

Landeskog has led on the ice as well, as he's become a player not afraid to get to the dirty areas in front of the goal. Bednar called him one of the best net-front players in the league today.

"There are a lot of different things that he does for us, lots of it goes unnoticed, but he's such a valuable part of our team," Bednar said.

The now 27-year-old has scored at least 20 goals in six of his seven full NHL seasons, including posting career highs with 34 goals, 41 assists and 75 points last year.

With 429 career points after 599 games, the left wing ranks 11th in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history in scoring and is seventh in the franchise annals for goals with 188. In Avalanche history (since 1995-96), the Swede is seventh in points, fourth in goals and eighth in assists with 245 helpers (13th in franchise history). He also has 10 goals and nine assists in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Video: COL@MTL: Landeskog nets sweet goal in first game back

On Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes, Landeskog scored his 48th career power-play goal to pass former teammate (and linemate) Paul Stastny (47) for sole possession of 10th place in franchise history and fifth place in Avalanche history in tallies with the man advantage.

"I guess it just mean I'm getting older," Landeskog said after Monday's morning skate. "You're creeping up those statistics, and it's exciting at the same time. It feels like just yesterday I came in and was drafted. You don't really want to sit back and analyze too much, you want to stay in the moment and keep playing."

The No. 2 overall pick by the Avs in the 2011 NHL Draft, Landeskog is the 10th player in franchise history--and fifth since the team moved to Colorado in 1995--to reach the 600-game mark. He is the second player from his draft class to reach the milestone game, joining the Philadelphia Flyers' Sean Couturier (614).

Only Milan Hejduk (1,020), Joe Sakic (870), Adam Foote (760) and Cody McLeod (659) have played more games with the Avalanche crest on the front of their jerseys.

"It has crept up on me," Landeskog said of 600. "It came right around the corner pretty fast, but I guess it doesn't really mean much other than a lot of games. So hopefully I have a lot more to go."

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