When the most recent NHL season came to an end, most fans of the Colorado Avalanche believed it would only be a matter of time before a new contract was announced for the team’s captain. Now less than two weeks before free agency is set to open, reports have emerged that Gabriel Landeskog could be heading to the open market.
Wednesday morning it was reported that negotiations between the Avalanche and the 28-year-old forward had not been going well. As the day went on, more and more news broke—including quotes from Landeskog himself — stating the two sides were very far apart in their expectations for a new deal.
“I can’t help but be honest with you that I’m a little bit disappointed that it’s gotten this far, and it’s had to come to this point,” Landeskog told The Athletic. “We’ll see what happens. I’m still hopeful that we can agree on something and come to terms, but if it was up to me, I would have liked it to be done eight months ago, 10 months ago.”
This came on the heels of Darren Dreger — among other insiders — reporting that the two sides “aren’t close” to a new contract and that the negotiations are heading down a tough road.
With all of this coming out in the same day, it becomes quite apparent that Landeskog’s agent is trying to negotiate through the media. Peter Wallen represents the Swede, and the way all these “reports” are being framed speaks to an agent who is trying to push for a resolution sooner rather than later.
If Landeskog does end up going to the open market, several teams are expected to make a push for the veteran winger. The St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Seattle Kraken, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers, among others, have all been reported as having an interest in Landeskog.
One wrinkle in these negotiations is the looming decision the Avalanche need to make about whether or not to protect Landeskog for the upcoming expansion draft. Those lists need to be submitted by the weekend, and if the Avs leave their captain exposed, Seattle will have an extra week to negotiate with the pending UFA.
If Colorado is unable to re-sign Landeskog, it would create a huge hole with the team — not only on the ice but in the dressing room — as well as in the hearts of fans. Landeskog is one of the most beloved members of the team and does a ton of incredible work in the community.