In the first round of the 2021 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the St Louis Blues were dominated by the Colorado Avalanche in a four-game series sweep. While the Avalanche were firing on all cylinders, one player stood out among the rest in that series, that being the captain, Gabriel Landeskog.
Landeskog has spent his entire career with the Avalanche, serving as their captain for nine of his ten seasons in the NHL. While he has found ample success with the Avalanche in the past, the Stanley Cup has always been out of reach. With a frustrating finish to this season, losing in six games to the Vegas Golden Knights, Landeskog’s relationship with the Avalanche has begun to deteriorate.
After looking to re-sign with the Avalanche for a reported deal in the range upwards of $9 million per year, Landeskog and the Avalanche have not been on the same page. The pending free agent was upset with his long-time club, and contract negotiations have somewhat stalled as a result.
Due to this, reports indicate that Landeskog is interested in several teams, with one being a long-time nemesis in the St Louis Blues. While it may take some time for Blues fans to come around to this signing, there is no question Landeskog could be a game-changer.
How Would Landeskog Fit with the Blues?
After putting the Blues in the torture chamber to the tune of eight points registered in four games this postseason, Landeskog demonstrated how lethal his skill set is on the offensive side of the puck. With his terrific athleticism coupled with his rocket wrister and top-of-the-line hockey IQ, Landeskog has demonstrated he is still an elite level forward.
With the Blues looking to move long-time goal-scorer Vladimir Tarasenko this offseason, a Blues team that struggled mightily offensively during the 2020-21 season now has a major void to fill. With Landeskog’s insertion to the roster, he would be an instant top-six forward able to work well with other top forwards on the Blues such as Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, and Brayden Schenn.
It is obvious that his offensive abilities are what set Landeskog apart from the crowd, but he is by no means a pushover on the defensive side of the ice. Playing with a great amount of physicality, he would fit in perfectly within the Blues’ system, as he’s able to hold his own along the boards and dish out punishment when the opportunity presents itself.
By adding Landeskog’s explosive offensive ability, the Blues would have a far superior depth on the wing compared to years past, giving them a much-needed boost as they fight their way back into Stanley Cup contention.
Is the Asking Price Too Steep?
Landeskog’s ability with the puck is undeniable, but signing a player to a long-term deal worth over $9 million per year is not an easy decision to make. By tying up a large chunk of cap space into acquiring him, the Blues would be left vulnerable in the coming years as far as making any moves in the offseason, as they already have several large contracts on their books from the likes of the aforementioned Ryan O’Reilly ($7.5 Million per year through 2023) and Brayden Schenn ($6.5 million per year through 2028).
While the Blues have several large contracts already signed, if they are able to find the right destination, they could potentially clear $7.5 from their cap space by moving Vladimir Tarasenko. This move would open up enough cap space to work out a massive deal with the 28-year-old Swede while still maintaining decent financial standing for future seasons.
How Would Landeskog Affect the Blues’ Future?
Ultimately, while the price tag may be high, Landeskog is not only a top free agent this offseason but a player that can implement a winning culture on virtually any franchise. His résumé speaks for itself, as he has shown time and time again that he is a force with the puck.
The Blues’ window to have a serious chance at competing for the Stanley Cup is slowly beginning to close, so if they want one more crack at glory, they need to go all in. By bringing in Landeskog, they’ll be acquiring not only a top talent but a tremendous leader and voice off the ice as well as on it. It may all be speculation as of now, but the Blues and Landeskog could be a winning match.
Originally from Owen Sound, Ontario, Matt Eichhorn has spent the past 4 years studying the field of Sport Media at Ryerson University. Eichhorn is a life-long hockey fan with experience working in a variety of media roles around the game. Currently, Eichhorn covers the St. Louis Blues for The Hockey Writers.