Gabriel Landeskog offers us an interesting study in draft strategy. Although he doesn’t have the offensive resume that others possess, Landeskog has a nice range of skills and is more developed physically. Landeskog is unlikely to win any scoring championships, but he might end up doing more to help your team win than several of the higher ranked players. At a guess, the top 4 might go RNH, Huberdeau, Couturier and Larsson. Should that happen, I suspect the NY Islanders could get a king’s ransom for that #5 overall selection.
Kirk Luedeke: “You have to look long and hard for any flaws in Landeskog’s game, and his character, intelligence and attitude are beyond his years as an 18-year-old who had his birthday in November. Landeskog is not huge- only about 6-0/6-1 but is a very stout 205 pounds and has a lot of upper- and lower-body strength. He’s a good skater who isn’t a blazer, but does have nice jump and can separate. He’s very strong on his skates and uses that lower leg drive to go right to the net, fight off defenders and make things happen in close. He can fire the puck off the rush, but while his drive is heavy, it’s not all that overpowering, so he does his best work between the hashmarks.”
ISS describes him as a gritty, hard working heart and soul type player who also happens to have electrifying offensive ability.
Landeskog’s offense is perhaps best expressed by comparing his EV scoring with the four CHL centermen at the top of the draft:
- Jonathan Huberdeau 67gp, 27-43-70 1.04
- Ryan Strome 65gp, 22-42-64 .985
- Sean Couturier 58gp, 23-32-55 .948
- Gabriel Landeskog 53gp, 24-23-47 .887
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 69gp, 20-27-47 .681
Landeskog has the best goals-per-game ratio and does seem to possess some fine offensive skills.
NHL Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan: “Gabriel does remind me of former Kitchener Ranger (and Philadelphia Flyers captain) Mike Richards. He sticks up for his teammates and is as strong at both ends of the rink as any player in the draft this year. He competes as hard if not harder than anybody. He’s got all the assets that you need to be a team leader and, for a potential No. 1 overall, that’s what you would want.”
NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards: “He is a good-size guy who is solid on his skates, not afraid to take the puck to the net or battle for it along the boards. His skating is very good in all areas. He plays the game with so much passion, he plays the game hard, he’s a great mentor for players that are younger and older, maturity beyond his years. (He) doesn’t need one game in the American league next year — he should step right into the NHL. I think the team that gets him next year is going to get a player that helps them win a Stanley Cup.”