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Friday, June 3, 2011

Gabriel Landeskog

Landeskog was our choice as the top prospect from the OHL from the pre-season and he held on to that right up until now.

We consider Landeskog the most NHL ready player in the entire draft. He brings everything you could ask for in a young player. Goal scoring, defensive responsibility, physical game, will drop the gloves and leadership - becoming the first European to captain the Kitchener Rangers.

Some question his scoring ability, but Landeskog has the ability to score any which way you can imagine. He has a wicked backhander that he can roof from close in, a decent one timer, can score the fancy goals, or can get down right dirty ones battling in front of the net.

Despite missing 15 games because of a high ankle sprain ( and also missing out on the World Junior Championships because of it), Landeskog finished with 66 points in 53 games, good enough for 41st in the OHL and tenth among draft eligible players. Consider this when thinking about that : 15 games is just shy of one quarter of the OHL season, and a high ankle sprain is not something that doesn't affect you even though you've returned to action. Think of Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins last season with the same injury.

Despite that, Landeskog was still able to score 36 goals which placed him 18th in the OHL and first among draft eligible players. Matt Puempel (who missed 13 games) And Alex Khokhlachev (who missed 1 game) were second with 34 goals.

Where Landeskog's Rangers underachieved was in the playoffs, suffering a 7 game upset at the hands of the Plymouth Whalers. Still, Landeskog scored 6 goals and 4 assists in those 7 games to finish behind team mate Ryan Murphy for points on the squad while his goals were tied for top spot with Jerry D'Amigo.

While there is some truth to the old adage that the player that played in the last game will be freshest in scout's minds, you just simply can't ignore what Landeskog has accomplished and the fact that he is ready to step into the NHL next season. While Landeskog's playoff run wasn't deep, this year's playoff coupled with last years playoff performance proved he can step it up and only cemented his ranking. If the adage holds true, then one team will be forced to decide between Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau of the Memorial Cup Champion St John Sea Dogs.

We'll take Landeskog 99 times out of a hundred.

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