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Landeskog: No ordinary European

by Mike G. Morreale
If not for the face, you would swear Gabriel Landeskog were American.

Read about him right here!

That's because his English is that good. It was something he was determined to learn when he turned 3 back in his native Stockholm, Sweden. Not only was he determined to perfect the English language, though, but enhance his chances at becoming a high-end prospect at the 2011 Entry Draft by playing the North American style at a very young age.

Landeskog did just that. After starring at Djurgarden in the Swedish Elite League at the tender age of 16 years, 90 days, Landeskog took his show to Kitchener in the Ontario Hockey League last year, producing an impressive 24 goals and 46 points in 61 games. He was named captain of the team this year, a sure sign he not only speaks the English language, but can relay any message of importance in a clear and concise manner. He wants to be regarded as the prototypical power-forward, following in the footsteps of former Swede Peter Forsberg and current stars Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom.

"Both (Franzen and Holmstrom) are role models, they've won cups and that's someone you want to
look up to," Landeskog told "The strength Johan Franzen brings to the game and how strong he is low in corners is something I can learn from. Holmstrom is very good he is in front. Having a similar role in Kitchener, I try to study that to the best of my ability."

Landeskog told me he doesn't think the path he took to the Canadian Hockey League should be the same for every European player. But, he did go on to say that learning the North American style at a young age was of great importance to him.

"I'm really happy I came over here a year ago," he said. "But saying that, there are a lot of different paths you can take to the NHL and get to that level you want. Some players prefer the Swedish Elite League and go that route. I felt like I wanted to show Sweden and other young players this is possible too; a path you can take.

"Players ask me all the time how the life and hockey is over here," he continued. "I always recommend it and if that's what you want to do, it's not going to make you a worse hockey. It has strengthened me as a person and a player. I've learned a lot about the lifestyle and how playing 68 games plus playoffs is a bonus. It's a lot of games and that's the type of schedule you want to have if you want to reach the next level."
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