Kiz: Has the Avalanche taken its captain for granted? General manager Joe Sakic left Gabe Landeskog exposed in the NHL expansion draft, hoping to sign his 28-year-old winger to a new team-friendly contract in free agency. Landy is loyal to a fault. But nobody likes to feel under-appreciated. I’d be surprised if Landeskog’s next game is in a Seattle Kraken sweater. But I’m beginning to worry his 10-year run with Colorado just might be done. What about you?
Chambers: Kraken GM Ron Francis is probably deep in his recruiting pitch to Gabe and his wife right now, having exclusive interview and negotiating rights with all the big free agents who weren’t protected. That’s what this has come to — a four-day opportunity for Seattle to recruit its first captain and make Gabe realize he can make $8 million annually and have a chance to win immediately. I think the Avs are betting Gabe takes less money and lesser term to remain in Colorado, where he knows he can win, but exposing their ideal captain to an expansion team that needs a leader is a dangerous game.
Kiz: I got the impression during the playoffs Landeskog was starting to grow weary of being considered a replaceable part on a Colorado roster where Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar are set up to be the big-name, big-money stars. If he wants in excess of $7 million per season, Landy probably needs to sign elsewhere. He’d fit in with the gritty Golden Knights in Vegas. And his wife has roots in Toronto. What I’m trying to say is: If Landeskog isn’t afraid to explore his options, he’d be a fool to give Denver a hometown discount.
Chambers: I agree. I’m hearing St. Louis would love to pay him what he wants and reunite with Ryan O’Reilly. MacKinnon and Makar are the superstars of this team and they will be paid like it — $9 million or more annually. A hometown discount for Landeskog is about $6 million annually, maybe $6.5. The Avs believe they can put any solid left winger with MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen and that will produce as it has. Heck, Brandon Saad was great with that line in Games 5 and 6 against Vegas, when Landeskog was demoted to the second line. The Avs will miss Landeskog’s leadership but they don’t think he’s an irreplaceable winger.
Kiz: During nearly 40 years covering sports at The Post, I’ve seen some stuff. And few athletes I’ve encountered in Colorado have more of the right stuff than Landy. He’s way smarter than your average bear, unafraid to stick his handsome face into trouble and takes his duties as captain seriously in victory, as well as defeat. I’d hate to see him leave the Avs. But it took a painful divorce from Colorado for Ryan O’Reilly to get the respect and Stanley Cup he so richly deserved. I think Landeskog would be wise to move on.
Chambers: It would be a painful split for both sides. Landy came here when he was 18, been here 10 years — nine as captain — and played through all the hard times. He’s a great human. After all the tough losses, the captain has almost always been approachable and available to talk in the locker room. Just the consummate professional and a friend to all. But the Avs have a handful of superstars who must get paid under a flat cap. Rantanen got his money ($9.25 million cap hit). Makar will get his within a month or so. MacKinnon will be next before his team-friendly deal runs out in 2022-23. The Avs believe Landeskog is a complementary piece, and that alone might drive him to sign with a team like St. Louis, a division rival, or become Seattle’s first captain.
Source: Read Full Article