Reports out of Colorado say the negotiations between the Avalanche and Gabriel Landeskog are not going so well. If Landeskog does hit the open market, the LA Kings need to make signing him priority number one.

It’s hard to believe the contract negotiations between the Colorado Avalanche and their captain have dragged out as long as it has. On the surface, it appears this should be an easy one. Per Cap Friendly, the Avalanche have just over $26 million in salary-cap space. Surely they should be able to accommodate a raise for Landeskog from the $5.6 million AAV he was making on his last contract, right?

In a salary-cap world, especially a flat cap one, nothing is ever easy.

A closer look at the Avalanche salary cap situation will show most of that cap space will be used in a hurry. Besides Landeskog, Colorado has to re-sign Brandon Saad, Philipp Grubauer, Cale Makar, and at the same time, fill out the rest of their roster. This in itself will make the financials tight. Now consider Nathan MacKinnon will need a new contract in two years, and it gets very expensive.

The highest-paid player currently on the Avalanche is Mikko Rantanen, with a $9.25 million AAV. Even though MacKinnon has already said he will take a discount on his next contract, one can assume both MacKinnon and Landeskog will want similar money to Rantanen. Should this happen, Colorado could have approximately 30 percent of its salary cap space (assuming the cap rises) tied up in three players.

The LA Kings have two big contracts on the books with Anze Kopitar‘s $10 million AAV and Drew Doughty‘s $11 million AAV. The Kings, however, are not facing a salary-cap crunch like the Avalanche are. In fact, the LA Kings have the sizeable contracts of Dustin Brown, Jonathan Quick, and Kopitar coming off of the books over the next three years – although Kopitar can potentially be re-signed at a lower AAV in his mid-30s.

With their prospects all either on their ELC’s or entering restricted free agency status, the Kings will not have to worry about any additional big contracts for at least three seasons. Considering that the salary cap should rise again in the near future, the Kings are now in a fantastic position to spend big money to help themselves become a playoff contender now.

It is well known the Kings are going into this offseason looking to acquire two top-six forwards. They recently got one with the acquisition of Viktor Arvidsson. Now, with enough salary-cap space to pursue whoever they want, Gabriel Landeskog should be their top target. Anyone who has read my recent work knows I have advocated for the Kings to sign defenseman Dougie Hamilton.

I still think Hamilton would be a great addition to the team, but there simply doesn’t seem to be interest from the Kings to bring him in. If they do not spend the salary cap space to upgrade the defense, the Kings should make a splash to get their second top-six forward.

Standing at 6–foot-1, 215 pounds, the 28-year-old Gabriel Landeskog is entering the prime of his career. He entered the NHL in the 2011-12 season and has been incredibly productive ever since. He won the Calder Trophy in his rookie season and has scored twenty goals or more goals in eight of his ten seasons in the NHL.

His best statistical season came in 2018-19 when he scored 34 goals to go along with 41 assists for 75 points. An all situations player, Landeskog would immediately become the best left-wing on the LA Kings should he sign with the team.

It’s not just his extraordinary offensive abilities that make Gabe Landeskog such an attractive free-agent option. He is a natural leader, as evidenced by the fact he wears the captain’s “C” on his sweater for the Avalanche. The LA Kings will have several young players coming through the ranks very soon, and having someone like Landeskog in the room to mentor these players would be worth its weight in gold.

As mainstays like Dustin Brown and Jonathan Quick near retirement, the leadership they provide will be sorely missed, a guy like Landeskog would go a long way toward filling the leadership void that would be left after Brown and Quick are gone.

It’s hard to imagine that the Colorado Avalanche will let Gabriel Landeskog hit unrestricted free agency on July 28th, but stranger things have happened. If this does indeed happen, Landeskog will have several teams contacting his agent looking to take him out of the Mile High City. Players with Landeskog’s credentials do not come available often, and the LA Kings need to do whatever it takes to bring him to Los Angeles.

He is well worth a seven-year contract in the $9 million AAV range, and by all means, include an NMC if necessary. I am normally against seven-year contracts in free agency, especially with all the young talent the Kings have on the way. In this case, load up that Brinks truck and send it Gabe Landeskog’s way.

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One thought

  1. better than reinhart or eichel as he will cost any prospects but just think he will sign with colorado

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