There really is no way to sugar coat it, the 2010s were unkind to the Avalanche.
The Avs had just four playoff appearances and one series win over the past 10 years. But with pain came promise. And in 2011, the Avalanche drafted a promising Swedish forward, Gabe Landeskog, with the No. 2 overall pick.
Landeskog, 27, was named team captain a year after being selected. At just 19 years old, the youngest in league history at the time, Landeskog instantaneously became both the leader and voice of the Avalanche.
The past decade has been a whirlwind for him on and off the ice. But throughout his time in Denver, his dedication to leading this organization has never faded, even during the toughest of times.
“The ups and the downs we’ve been through here in this locker room,” Landeskog told me, recalling the past 10 years. “We thought that we had turned things around after winning the division and making the playoffs in 2013-14 only to find out that we false started and stepped back for another three years.”
“There were some tough seasons in between but we like the group that we have. We like what this organization has done with this locker room and the players that we have. It’s been exciting, I think it’s an exciting time to be a fan and a player.”
It wasn’t always as such, however.
When the Avs finished with 48 points in 2016-17 there were rumors that Landeskog, among others, was being shopped around the trade deadline. But Landeskog did not want to leave, he wanted to be part of the solution moving forward. For the second-longest tenured captain in Avalanche history, it wasn’t just about winning. It was about winning here in Denver.
“Bringing the Cup back to Denver. That’s the main thing—the main goal,” he told me. “We know that it’s a long road to get there and we know it’s a lot of things that are going to have to go our way to get there but, day in and day out if we do our job as best as we can, we have a good opportunity.”
Personally, Landeskog is now a father. He and wife Melissa welcomed Linnea Rae Landeskog to the world in November, 16 months after the couple got married.
“Back then I couldn’t even think about being a dad,” Landeskog told me. “It was different—I was still a kid.”
And would he entertain the idea of having more children?
“Of course, I want to have a couple of more kids,” Landeskog said. “I want to continue to grow and continue to mature. And in 10 years who knows if I’ll still be playing. But if I’m not playing life will be a little bit different so I guess we’ll find out.”