I no longer have to wait to get my Ryan O'Reilly jersey. I can now confidently say that it won't have the captain's "C," at least not during any part of the foreseeable future. This is because the Avalanche has named its 19-year-old sophomore, Gabriel Landeskog, the franchise's fourth ever captain.
According to available research, at 19 years, 286 days, Landeskog is the youngest captain in NHL history. He is 11 days younger than Sidney Crosby, who was 19 years, 297 days when he was named captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 31, 2007.
Landeskog becomes just the fourth captain in Colorado Avalanche history, joining Joe Sakic, Adam Foote and Hejduk. The Stockholm, Sweden native is the 11th captain in the history of the Avalanche/Nordiques franchise and only the third European-born, following Hejduk and Peter Stastny.There has been unending talk since Landeskog entered the league that he had the leadership ability to be an NHL captain one day soon. Still, many Avalanche fans (including myself) thought that O'Reilly might be given the job due to his noted work ethic on and off the ice.
But Landeskog is a much flashier choice, and I won't pretend to know what goes on behind closed doors. But according to the Avalanche's release, Landeskog was appointed to the role by Coach Sacco after Milan Hejduk voluntarily stepped down.
O'Reilly has yet to sign a contract with the Avalanche for next season, and I have to wonder if this decision has anything to do with those negotiations.
Hopefully Landeskog can step up to the plate when (or if) hockey ever gets going again.