Gabriel Landeskog and Why He Is the Front-Runner for the Calder Memorial Trophy

Benjamin Klein@BenjaminJKleinContributor IIIJanuary 8, 2012

SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 15:  Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche in action against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion at San Jose on December 15, 2011 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Gabriel Landeskog has had a great start to his NHL career with the Colorado Avalanche, a team surging for a playoff spot in a difficult Western Conference. Landeskog has already earned the respect of his teammates and the fans at just age 19. 

Through 43 games, of which Landeskog has played all of, he has eight goals and 13 assists. He currently ranks fifth on Colorado in goals, assists and points. He leads the team in plus/minus rating (10) by five goals and also in total shots with 128. 

Landeskog has been huge through this first half of the season and his workload will increase in the next few weeks with the injury to Matt Duchene. Landy only averages around 17 minutes per game on the ice, but due to other injuries, it can be assumed that his time on ice will increase.

Compared to the rest of the rookie class, Landy ranks among the best in many of the categories. He ranks seventh in goals, fifth in assists, sixth in total points and leads all rookies in shots. 

His early case for a Calder Memorial Trophy victory obviously depends a lot on the rest of the rookies and their health. Edmonton rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins seems to be the early leader for the award, but a shoulder injury should keep him out for around a month.

The next few weeks will be huge for the Avalanche, playing a lot on the road, but also very important for Gabriel Landeskog and his ability to keep competing with the rest of the rookie class. Colorado is really going to need Landy to be on his best game as they go through this tough stretch in the season.