2011 Draft Prospect Profiles #2: Gabriel Landeskog
Position: Right Wing
Date of Birth: November 23, 1992
Place of Birth: Stockholm, Sweden
Ht: 6-0 Wt: 201 lbs.
Much like his North American counterpart, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog has been a consensus #1 European born player for some time. Even though he's actually spent the last two years playing in the OHL, rather than the Swedish J20 or Elite Leauge like some of his peers, it's simply raised his visibility and continued to highlight his talent against many of the players from this year's draft class. Thought to be one of the best Swedish players in several years, he missed most of this year's World Junior Championships due to a sprained ankle suffered in the opening game (though not before he could notch a point and an assist), but still came back to the Rangers, where he serves as captain, and lead them into the playoffs against the Plymouth Whalers, where they forced a comeback from a 3-1 deficit to a deciding game 7 before being knocked out. Frequently compared to fellow Swede Mats Sundin and another former Kitchener Captain, Mike Richards, he's got a solid frame, and already seems to be bulking up to meet the demands of the NHL game.
2010/2011 Regular Season Stats:
GP G A PTS +/- PIM 53 36 30 66 27 61
Landeskog has made a very impressive surge this season and is now in the same company as the former ‘big three'. The Swedish winger is a hard-nosed player with plenty of grit and should be a very safe pick, but doesn't quite have the high-end upside of the other three. Still a very close race at this point and most will consider the top four fairly interchangeable.
Why He'd Be A Good Fit In Columbus:
Though it seems highly unlikely that he'll be available at #8 (and if he is, one would imagine Howson will use that as bait to help move the pick for immediate help), Landeskog would be an amazing complimentary winger with Ryan Johansen in a few years, able to drive into the net and use his skilled hands to deliver the puck. With his strong character and leadership ability, he could easily become the face of the franchise that drafts him within a few years, and his willingness to play a strong two way game would pair nicely with a high tempo offense like Scott Arniel's.