Gabriel Landeskog might not be the franchise player you're making him out to be

Gabriel Landeskog might not be the franchise player you're making him out to be

If the Avalanche want to trade Gabriel Landeskog, the Bruins should look into it. If the Avalanche want to act like Gabriel Landeskog is a sure-fire franchise-changing commodity with a commensurate cap hit right now, the Bruins should tell them to get lost. They should then call other teams to either pursue different trades or talk about the Avalanche behind their backs. 

Landeskog is a good player with a very high ceiling, but he’s currently getting doused with buckets of hype because, well, trade rumors are fun as hell. 

You know Landeskog as the second overall pick in the 2011 draft, the guy taken in the very slot in which Tyler Seguin was selected a year earlier. You know he’s Colorado’s captain and that he’s stout enough (215 pounds to fill out a 6-foot-1 frame) to have adequately infuriated Milan Lucic that one time. 

Yet context is required when determining whether he’s worth giving up someone like Brandon Carlo (he isn’t). This is a player, for all his talent, whose numbers are trending in the wrong direction. Trading for him and his contract presents as much of a gamble in and of itself as trading Carlo would. 

One point raised by My Buddy Mike Monday: Carlo is a first-year player, and one who could be pushed to the second pair down the road by Charlie McAvoy. If Carlo isn’t going to be the guy on your defense, why not trade a guy who was a second-round pick for a guy who was the second overall pick? 

The answer is because it would be a presumptuous to call Landeskog the guy on offense. With declining offensive numbers for three straight seasons, the only constant has been his $5.57 million cap hit, and that will remain on the books through the 2020-21 season regardless of where the rest of the numbers go. 

This season, Landeskog has 12 goals and 18 points through 42 games. Ah, crap. Wrong tab. Those numbers belong to Brett Connolly, who, as a bottom-six forward, has scored more goals than Landeskog this season. That’s the same Brett Connolly to whom the Bruins declined to give a qualify offer prior to free agency. 

Landeskog’s real numbers: 11 goals and 22 points through 43 games. That follows a season in which he scored 20 goals in 75 games last season. 

In the last four seasons, his goal totals have gone from 26 to 23 to 20 to his current mark of 11. 

In that span, Landeskog’s goals per 60 in five-on-five play have gone from 0.89 in 2013-14 to 0.51 this season. His current goals per 60 would rank him in a tie for eighth on the Bruins with Dominic Moore. (Remember, this is a town that called Loui Eriksson overpaid for scoring 22 goals when he had a $4.25 million cap hit.)

Maybe those numbers will go up. Maybe this is a Seguin situation where, after a statistical regression, his points will shoot way the hell back up and he’ll become a superstar.

But that’s all in the future and it's all hypothetical. Right now Landeskog produces like a middle-six forward and gets paid like a first-liner. That’s not worth a top-four defenseman who still has two years left on his entry level contract.  

When the Bruins traded for Nathan Horton, the third overall pick in the 2003 draft, he was one year older than Landeskog is now and had better numbers up that point in his NHL career, including a 30-goal season. His contract was also better, as it had three seasons remaining at $4 million per, which made for a smaller percentage of the cap back then than Landeskog’s $5.57 million does now. 

The price for Horton: The 15th overall pick in 2010, a 2011 third-rounder and Dennis Wideman. 

If the package is similar to that, then it’s worth exploring for the Bruins based on their projections, but they shouldn’t trade one of their key pieces. Even if Carlo doesn’t become a great player, trading him for Landeskog would represent poor asset management with a young defenseman, and it wouldn’t be their first rodeo. 

Landeskog would look good in a Bruins' uniform, but if the B's are going to get him, they should pay based on what he is now. 

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Banged up B's 'look forward to the challenge' vs Tampa team they're chasing

TAMPA BAY – It certainly might not be the shape they envisioned themselves being in when these late season games arrived against the President’s Trophy favorites in Tampa Bay, but the Bruins are bracing for a showdown with the high-powered Lightning either way. 

The Bruins stand just four points behind the Bolts with one game in hand, and mathematically they absolutely have a shot of catching and surpassing the Lightning for the NHL’s top spot with three games remaining against them in the season’s final month. But realistically it’s got to be considered a long shot at this point with Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron, Charlie McAvoy and Jake DeBrusk all out for Saturday night’s meeting with Tampa, and Bergeron and McAvoy expected to potentially miss all three of their divisional scraps. 

Coming off a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Florida Panthers and at the end of a week-long, four-game road trip, the Bruins know they’re going to need to tighten things up against a Lightning team they can’t match firepower with in their weakened state. 

“I think we’ve done a pretty good job of just playing the game in front of us, and not getting too far ahead, too high or too low. We’ve got the best team in the National Hockey League, arguably, at home and rested [in front of us],” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “We look forward to the challenge. They’re a high-scoring team, so we talked about that with our goaltenders and our ‘D’ today. We better be ‘on’ because they’ll be coming. Our forwards are going to have to help out in that area and make sure we’re reloading well, and keep getting pucks at the net. 

“We didn’t finish [against Florida] but it wasn’t because of lack of effort or lack of pucks at the net. That part of our game is trending pretty well offensively. I think you’re going to have score to a certain extent against this team because you’re not going to shut them down completely. That’s our game plan for whoever is going to be in the lineup. They’ve got to be ready for it because that’s how it works, and that’s how it’s worked all year long for us. We need the guys in there to do their part and do it well.”

Certainly the Bruins could still do some offensive damage with Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak still intact on their top line, and David Krejci and Rick Nash also still developing their chemistry on the second line. Torey Krug also came through feeling healthy at practice on Friday after soaking up 26 plus minutes of ice time in the loss to Florida, so they’ll also have some puck-moving and offensive pop on the back end as well.

But it may come down to the Chara-less defense and Tuukka Rask to step up and go into shutdown mode against the Lightning if they’re looking to really push up on the Lightning, and make this a horse race for the Atlantic Division down the stretch. Not to mention, it would be a psychological swing for both teams if the Bruins could take down a rested, relatively healthy Tampa Bay hockey club with their undermanned, injury-ravaged bunch. 

That in and of itself should be plenty of motivation for a Bruins team that’s got their sights and set on bigger and better things this spring with the Lightning expected to be one of the big obstacles standing in their way.


Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

NBC Sports Boston Photo

Morning Skate: Tavares or Seguin?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while jacked and pumped about that Infinity War trailer. Wow. 


*Credit here for something outside the box and clear hockey satire while looking far into the NHL’s crystal ball where the new expansion team is called the Seattle Slippery Seals, and Brad Marchand is the head of the NHLPA. That is quite a twist at the end of the movie right there. 


*The Hockey Central crew debates whether they would want John Tavares or Tyler Seguin as a player to build their team around. Seguin is having a solid year (with the end of his contract coming into view), but I’m going with Tavares all day long. I think he’s more of a competitor and a reliable player along with an equitable level of talent, and that counts for quite a bit in team-building. 


*It’s good to see the PHWA decide to make public the ballots of all NHL Awards starting at the end of this season. It’s something I voted in favor of and already did annually as I think transparency is something we always ask for from those we cover, so it should never be something we shy away from. 


*The Flyers have hit the skids again after pushing themselves into playoff view. This has been such a streak team over the last couple of years. 


*Pro Hockey Talk says that the Montreal Canadiens need to take a long look into the mirror before they move on from this season. I couldn’t agree more. 


*For something completely different: I feel badly for my kids that Toys R us is liquidating as a company, and the stores will be closing. It’s getting to the point where there will be no more brick and mortar toy stores for kids to visit, and that’s something from my youth experience that they’re going to miss out on. Frankly, it’s kind of sad.