Kitchener Rangers coach Steve Spott loves Gabriel Landeskog, his captain last season and the second overall pick in last month’s draft to the Colorado Avalanche.
“I wish he was here,” Spott said at Capitals development camp.
But Spott doesn’t expect to have Landeskog – who’s considered very NHL ready – back next season.
“I talked with Greg Sherman; they’ve been pretty up front, and they’ve been honest with me that they expect Gabe to be in Colorado next year,” Spott said. “They’re gonna have a younger group of guys, so where he’s got him penciled in right now, we won’t get him back. It’s unfortunate for Kitchener Ranger fans, but that’s our job.”
The 6-foot, 201-pound Landeskog spent two seasons with the Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League and piled up 112 points.
Spott called Landeskog a “special one to coach,” and lauded him for being able to be the face of the team with the Kitchener media.
“I’m proud of Gabriel; he was our captain this year and to be a Swedish-born captain in Kitchener really shouldn’t happen,” he said. “So I give him a lot of a credit.”
After being drafted, Landeskog had his sights set on being in Colorado and not Kitchener moving forwad.
“My goal is to make the team in the fall and in training camp If I sit here and say anything else, I’d be lying to you guys,” he said at Xcel Energy Center on June 24. “I’ve got things to work on during the summer. But when it comes to training camp, it’s up to me to show the management and the coaching staff I’m there to stay.”