The Avalanche are betting big on their 20-year-old captain after awarding Gabriel Landeskog a seven-year extension, worth $39 million according to TSN. The Avs' selection with the second overall pick in 2011 still has a year remaining on his entry-level deal, which means he'll be under contract with the team until 2020-21.
"Gabe is and will continue to be a large part of the foundation of this hockey team for many years to come," said Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic. “Signing our captain to a long-term extension demonstrates the commitment of Stan and Josh Kroenke to this franchise and to our fan base. In just two seasons, Gabe has already proven to be a great asset to our organization both on and off the ice. The fact that he has agreed to a long-term deal shows that he believes in this team, his teammates and the direction of this franchise moving forward."
The deal comes with a reported modified no-trade clause and a cap hit of $5.57 million.
“I love Colorado and I love being a part of this wonderful community,” Landeskog said. There is no other place I'd rather be than in Denver wearing the Avalanche logo. I am looking forward to training camp and the upcoming season.”
While Landeskog undoubtedly is a talented young player, the Avalanche could be taking a bit of a risk on the term. After all, Landeskog has played just two seasons, one of which was shortened by both a lockout and early-season concussion. That said, if there is risk, it's only slight. The length of the contract eats up three of Landeskog's first three years of unrestricted free agency under the new collective bargaining agreement, which may be the best thing about this deal.
Landeskog won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the league's rookie of the year after a 22-goal, 52-point campaign in 2011-12. He posted 17 points in 36 games during the truncated season.
Though Landeskog showed few ill effects from the concussion he suffered in a January game last season, it's hard to predict what kind of long-term impact such an injury can sustain. That said, if Landeskog reaches his full potential, this deal could bring some tremendous value for Colorado, especially when the salary cap goes up.
This is a team with an impressive core of young talent at forward, of which Landeskog is expected to be a huge part of. The cap hit for this deal is certainly favorable for continuing to build around that core which includes Matt Duchene,2013 first-overall pick Nathan MacKinnonand Ryan O'Reilly.
Earlier this summer, the Avalanche locked up Matt Duchene to a five-year, $30 million deal, while MacKinnon quickly inked his entry-level contract at a cap hit at 3.775 million until 2015-16. O'Reilly's current deal expires after next season.
While the Avs are looking solid at forward, they'll have to add some pieces to the blue line soon in order to take advantage of the increasing wealth of talent up front. With devoting long contracts and reasonable money to both Duchene and Landeskog, Sakic and his staff should be able to make something work.
It might take a few seasons, but with several young stars to build around, Colorado seems to be taking big step away from its recent years of futility.