Colorado Avalanche: Reflecting on Gabriel Landeskog's Year so Far

Kevin GoffContributor IDecember 21, 2011

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 23:  Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center on November 23, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Canucks defeated the Avalanche 3-0.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

As the second overall draft pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, expectations were high right away for Gabriel Landeskog.

He was deemed the most NHL-ready of the draft class, able to step in and help his team out from day one.

Up to this point of the season, Landeskog has lived up to every expectation set for him during his lead up to the NHL draft.

Looking at his numbers, one might think that Landeskog has been a big letdown, with just six goals and nine assists thus far, but you definitely can't judge a book by its cover.

While Landeskog hasn't filled the net as much as people had hoped, he has still created offense in several ways.

He's currently sixth on the Avalanche in scoring, is leading the team in shots on goal and plus/minus, averages just under 18 minutes of ice time per game, plays on both the power play and penalty kill, is tied for the team lead in shorthanded assists, is second on the team in takeaways and leads the team in hits.

All of these items are stats that you would expect from a player that has been in the league for a few years because these statistics, especially the takeaways and shorthanded points, are the statistics of a very disciplines player.

One of the words that you will hear constantly about Landeskog is how smart he is; he just doesn't make those common rookie mistakes.

He doesn't panic with the puck, he doesn't make bad decisions, he finishes his checks and is aggressive at intelligent times.

The most important things that he does so well for the Avalanche is the way he gets into the dirty areas to create plays.

Beneath the goal line and right in front of the net, Landeskog is always there and doesn't show the bashfulness that some rookies show when it comes to contact.

Landeskog doesn't only welcome the contact, he initiates it.

Even though Landeskog has yet to go on a big scoring streak, he has managed to continue to do everything else right.

Players as young as Landeskog can get down on themselves when they are in a scoring rut and forget to do the small things right, but Landeskog has been doing everything right from the minute he stepped on the ice.

He has impressed everybody that has watched him, and the best is yet to come.

He might not be the best scoring rookie to this point of the year, but he is by far the most complete rookie in the NHL.


Kevin Goff is a Featured Columnist for the Colorado Avalanche and NHL on Bleacher Report. For more NHL news and discussion, 

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