When the Colorado Avalanche made Gabriel Landeskog the second overall pick of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, one of his biggest selling points was his NHL-readiness.While Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made the splashiest early impact, one could argue that the sentiment still holds up because RNH’s body didn’t exactly, well, hold up.
Either way, Landeskog is making a strong argument for the 2012 Calder Trophy and tonight’s overtime game-winning goal (Colorado beat Anaheim 3-2 in OT) might be the lead moment of his highlight reel.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
OK, so it’s not exactly Michael Jordan’s “flu game” but Landeskog deserves some credit for toughing it out. Landeskog spoke about being the only rookie to lead his team in scoring in the video below.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
(Landeskog also broke a quirky record: he’s now the all-time Avalanche rookie leader in shots on goal.)
So where does Landeskog rank among the Calder candidates? Here’s a quick survey:
Points: second with 44 (Adam Henrique leads with 46 in 10 fewer games)
Goals: Tied for first with Matt Read at 19
Assists: Third with 25
Plus/minus: first overall with +20 (I’m not a fan of the stat, but it’s fairly impressive and voters probably will dig it.)
Game-winning goals: second with four (Read leads with five)
Time on Ice: eighth overall with 18:27 minutes per game, first overall among forwards
As you can see, if you were to argue Landeskog’s case, you’d spotlight versatility. He’s doing a little of everything and excelling in most areas. Landeskog is playing a significant role on a team fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot.
In fact, some might argue that the Avalanche’s postseason chase might just define Landeskog’s Calder argument. Who’s your pick for the Calder so far?