3. RW Gabriel Landeskog – Kitchener (OHL)
DOB: Nov. 23/92 | Shoots: L | Height: 6.00 | Weight: 201lbs
Midterm Rank: 4 | League Rank: 1st OHL | Country Rank: 2nd Sweden
As far as prospects go, Gabriel Landeskog is one you cannot go wrong with; he is about as safe as they come. Initially drafted in the 2009 CHL Import Draft 3rd overall by the Plymouth Whalers, Landeskog was involved in a deal that moved him to the Kitchener Rangers, where he is finding his current success. As a 17 year old, Landeskog recorded 46 points in 61 games, an impressive feat for an import player, not to mention his 23 points in 23 playoff games either. These numbers resulted in Landeskog being named to the OHL All Rookie team, as well as being named Kitchener’s rookie of the year. His playing style really made the transition easy as he already played a North American style game.
Steve Spott is quote in TSN’s Matt Cade’s article “Kitchener’s Landeskog Different Kind of Swedish Prospect” (http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=339113) saying “’He played a North American style of game,” said Spott. “He played hard and I felt that he was the type of player that would fit well inside our system.’”
Preparing for his second season in the OHL, and his NHL draft year, Kitchener was looking for more offensive output out of their newly named captain. Not only did Landeskog succeed in doing this, he cemented himself as a top 5 pick in the NHL draft with his increased OHL numbers, 66 points in 53 games, solid two way play and grit. Fortunately for Landeskog, his injury at the 2011 World Junior Championship did not affect his draft ranking. In the game he did play he recorded a goal and an assist.
Landeskog is probably the most complete player and potentially the most NHL ready prospect in the entire 2011 NHL draft crop. He plays with an immense amount of intensity and grit, plays solid in his own end, and can be counted on to record some points along the way. It is not only his on ice play that will make him a great pick, but the intangibles as well. His work ethic and determination are high. He is a great leader, and will most likely captain an NHL team in the future. When it comes to Landeskog’s offensive game he has great vision, strong on the boards, and has a rocket of a shot which consistently makes him a threat, especially at the junior level.
It is a tremendously difficult thing to do trying to find holes in the Stockholm native’s game. Due to his gritty two-way style of game, Landeskog will likely never realize the offensive cap he has the potential of hitting. He also lacks the offensive creative ability that other of the top talents in the draft possess. He plays a simple offensive game, and isn’t afraid to go to the gritty areas in front of the net to score a goal.
Naturally, Landeskog’s gritty two-way style has yet to serve him wrong and he has successfully managed to find himself in the top 5 of 99% of the 2011 NHL rankings to date. He is more than likely ready to compete in the NHL next season, which will definitely be taken into consideration when the NHL general managers go to make their selections June 24th in Minnesota.
Pros: Two-way play, Competitiveness, Goal Scoring Prowess, Leadership
Cons: Creativity, Style of play limits overall offensive upside
Skill-set Comparison: Shane Doan