The Avalanche are often viewed as one of the league’s least-focused-on star-studded rosters. Despite the fact that their top line is one of the best in the league, they tend to get a smaller share of the league-wide attention from fans and media for their successes.
With the addition of Gabriel Landeskog to the All Star Game’s Central Division lineup, though, it’s clear that people are definitely starting to notice all their success.
Avalanche top line center Nathan MacKinnon was voted as Central Division captain earlier in the season, taking the majority of the votes for the already-stacked group of teams holding court over the rest of the Western Conference.
Linemate Mikko Rantanen, who has been one of the league’s most offensively-gifted players this year, joined MacKinnon in the All Star Game with a league-chosen spot on the Central’s roster, giving two of the team’s three top line players a chance to head to San Jose in a few weeks as representatives for the roster’s success.
As the final member of the successful trio, though, Gabriel Landeskog - team captain and all-around lineup ‘glue’ player - was given a chance to head to the games as well with a spot in the “Last Man In” vote for the final player in each of the four divisions.
Sure enough, he’s done well enough — and the fans worked hard enough with the vote submissions — to snag the final spot:
NHL announces the Last Men for the AllStar Game in SJ:— John Shannon (@JSportsnet) January 11, 2019
Jeff Skinner (Atlantic)
Gabriel Landeskog (Central)
Kris Letang (Metropolitan)
Leon Draisaitl (Pacific)
Drafted second overall in 2011, Landeskog has been having himself one hell of a year so far. His 27 goals through 44 games are a career high, and even sit two above his count from last season (which he also spent on the successful top line with MacKinnon and Rantanen). He has just 51 points — a step down from the 66 and 68 point totals that his linemates boast at the moment — but it still puts him as one of the highest-scoring players in the Central Division at this point in the year.
He beat out players like Patrik Laine and Jonathan Toews to earn the nod — no easy feat given their own fan support. Now, he’ll get to partake in the festivities with his linemates in his first-ever appearance at the games.