Gabriel Landeskog

Will Gabriel Landeskog be the Avalanche’s secret weapon next season?

1 Comment

Nowadays in the NHL when you’re a top five choice in the annual entry draft, there are certain expectations that you could play in the NHL right away. You can look through the last few drafts and find a host of players who went from walking the stage in summer to jumping on the ice right away just a few months later to become the next wave of big stars in the NHL.

For second overall pick in the 2011 draft Gabriel Landeskog, he’s got a future teammate in Colorado’s Matt Duchene who did just that back in 2009. At 6’0″ 207 pounds, Landeskog is already built like an NHL power forward and with the type of game he can bring, he could provide a huge boost to the Avalanche lineup right away. With a top six that includes Duchene, Paul Stastny, and Milan Hejduk there’s room to crack the lineup to be a force.

One guy who thinks that Landeskog is NHL-ready right now is Kitchener Rangers coach Steve Spott, Landeskog’s coach in junior hockey. Spott tells The Washington Times’ Stephen Whyno that the stud winger is ready to roll for the Avalanche right away and doesn’t expect him back in Kitchener next season.

“I talked with Greg Sherman [Avalanche GM]; they’ve been pretty up front, and they’ve been honest with me that they expect Gabe to be in Colorado next year,” Spott said. “They’re gonna have a younger group of guys, so where he’s got him penciled in right now, we won’t get him back. It’s unfortunate for Kitchener Ranger fans, but that’s our job.”

In last year’s draft, we saw five players (Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Jeff Skinner, Alexander Burmistrov, and Cam Fowler) make the jump straight into the NHL. This year’s draft class is a bit more unclear as to who might stay and who might head back to juniors and college hockey but with Landeskog’s size, skills, and the opportunity in front of him he’s got a great chance to make a big first impression.

The opportunity for Landeskog to jump right in is there. Outside of Duchene, Stastny, and Hejduk the Avalanche have the likes of David Jones, T.J. Galiardi, and Chuck Kobasew to compete with for time in the top six. If Peter Mueller is able to recover fully from concussion problems, he’d assuredly have a spot in that mix but there’s no timetable set for when he can play again, if at all. Those other players aren’t all that impressive and if Landeskog can subscribe to the the idea of seizing the day he can be a top line player for Colorado right away.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
1 Comment

According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”

Oilers place Scrivens on waivers

Jordan Martinook, Ben Scrivens
1 Comment

The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.

Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.

It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.

Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.

He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.

Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.

If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.

The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.

The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.