The youngest player named to Sweden’s Olympic team is just excited to be part of it all.
Colorado captain Gabriel Landeskog — at 21, also the NHL’s youngest captain — told the Denver Post he expects his role in Sochi will be that of a third- or fourth-liner, one he’s happy to fill.
“That’s most likely what’s going to happen, and I’m totally fine with that,” Landeskog explained. “I’m pretty excited to just be apart of it and whatever role I get.”
This quote gives a pretty good example of Sweden’s depth — based on his season thus far and overall body of work, Landeskog would be a top-line option for a number of other countries. The 2013 Calder winner has 14 goals and 36 points through 48 games this year, averaging 18:33 TOI per game while leading all Avs forwards in hits (104), placing second in takeaways (37).
But on Team Sweden, there’s serious competition up front.
Veteran NHLers like Henrik Zetterberg, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Steen and Loui Eriksson are all vying for ice time, as are the likes of Daniel Alfredsson, Johan Franzen, Carl Hagelin, Patrik Berglund, Marcus Kruger and Jakob Silfverberg. In fact, the Swedes only took one non-NHLer to Sochi — forward Jimmie Ericsson, who plays for Skelleftea AIK of the Swedish Hockey League and is the older brother of Team Sweden/Detroit defenseman Jonathan Ericsson.
As for Landeskog, he’s unsure what line he’ll be on, or who his linemates will be. He just wants to get to Sochi and help the Swedes challenge for gold.
“I will do anything I can to help the team,” he said.