Hockey fans everywhere were poised and excited to watch tonight’s unveiling of the Seattle Kraken’s new roster. Not all goes to plan as the pipeline holding that new roster began to spring a leak just as North America was enjoying a nice cup of joe.
Twitter quickly became riddled with reports from verified and reputable sources, effectively spoiling the surprise for many fans. With that, news came that Seattle and Gabriel Landeskog could not reach a mutual understanding, and he would be safe from being selected in the expansion draft. The Kraken has instead selected winger Joonas Donskoi.
The Kraken did not sign/select pending UFA star winger Gabriel Landeskog. So he remains a pending UFA, either headed to market July 28 or re-signing with the Avs if Colorado circles back before then and can bridge the sizeable gap that remains.@TSNHockey @TheAthletic— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) July 21, 2021
Around that same time, we began to hear rumblings of a few free-agent deals that were close. Now, hockey twitter is all but confident that Boston will re-sign winger Taylor Hall at an AAV “in the neighborhood” of six million dollars after the signing moratorium ends. Hall’s contract could set the bar for what Landeskog may receive. Reports that Landeskog’s camp is asking for ten million dollars cannot be accurate. If so, Landy would be hard-pressed to find any team willing to offer that kind of cash. Something in the five to seven and a half million dollar range (depending on term) makes the most sense now.
What does this mean?
Well, if you look at it from a certain angle, the news of today could bode well for the Colorado Avalanche. The phrasing of the news break makes it apparent that Seattle would have selected Landeskog had they come to an agreement. That should make it clear to Landeskog’s representation that they aren’t posturing a realistic ask. Joe Sakic and Ron Francis agree that Landy is asking for too much. At least in terms of their respective franchises and current situations. So what gives?
The situational parity between the two franchises almost solidifies this idea. If any franchise was willing to pay a premium for Landeskog’s services, wouldn’t it most likely be the Seattle Kraken? Especially given the Kraken seem to be selecting fringe players in the expansion draft to make way for FA signings.
Not to mention Landeskog would have become the clear choice to captain the brand new franchise. That’s the ideal situation for leaving the team that drafted you and made you the youngest captain ever (at the time). I don’t think anyone would fault a guy for making more money with a fresh start in a situation that wouldn’t come with a lot of pressure. No one is expecting Seattle to do what the Golden Knights were able to accomplish.
In comparison, the Avalanche are once again odds on favorites to win the Stanley Cup, and the pressure is on. The time to win is now, and anything less than hoisting the cup will be considered a failed season. What’s the line from the only good Spider-Man movie? “With great power comes great responsibility.” In terms of the Avalanche, with great potential comes great expectation, and that can create legends or contribute to infamy.
That leaves me with one question. What does Landeskog value? Is it playing on a team with a realistic chance of winning a cup or cashing in elsewhere while the NHL market will pay him at a premium? He’d be first in line to get his mitts on Lord Stanley’s Cup for Colorado. He could effectively cash in and have a good look at a cup but it's gonna be a short-lived window and just simply wouldn’t be the same. If he’s overpaid, that will put whoever he signs with at a disadvantage. Ask Minnesota how overpaying guys works out.
Today essentially offered Landeskog’s camp a glimpse into the open market, and that glimpse may have come with a reality check. Now I’d expect Landeskog to re-sign with the Colorado Avalanche within the week with this information on hand. Colorado should value Landeskog’s captaincy and leadership. That should earn him a bit more than Taylor Hall. I think a five-year, 7M dollar contract is reasonable and realistic for Gabe and the Colorado Avalanche. Will Sakic and Landeskog meet at equilibrium? I think so.
I genuinely think that the Colorado Avalanche have an incredibly tight-knit group of gentlemen in that locker room. That same room has been lead by Gabriel Landeskog for over a decade now. He wants to win, and he wants to win with this group. That’s why I see him returning to Colorado.