Gabriel Landeskog Offers Update on Potential 2024 Return to Avalanche

Gabriel Landeskog

Getty Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche holds the Stanley Cup.

The Colorado Avalanche have been without their captain Gabriel Landeskog for two full seasons. After a devastating cartilage injury on the bottom of his right patella in the 2020-21 bubble playoffs, Landeskog has been noticeably absent from the lineup. It has been a long road to recovery, including multiple surgeries, but a return appears on the horizon in 2024.

A post-series press conference with Landeskog and Colorado general manager Chris MacFarland on Thursday, May 23 provided some insight into Landeskog’s hopeful return to the ice next season.

“As hard as it was and as much as I wanted to be out there, it was ultimately the best decision for my health and long-term for this organization,” Landeskog told reporters about whether he was close to playing in the postseason.

When asked for a possible timeframe for next season, Landeskog said with a laugh, “Between mid-September and the start of April. I feel pretty good about it.”

Avalanche Missed Gabriel Landeskog’s Playoff Presence

The six-game second-round series against the ultimately successful Dallas Stars was fraught with high highs and low lows for Colorado. This included yet another injury to a star player; Artturi Lehkonen, who is slated for shoulder surgery this offseason.

Landeskog, still injured but recovering, skated with the Avalanche ahead of Game 6, but despite the morale boost his presence likely caused, the Avalanche still fell to the Stars in double overtime off a slick goal from Matt Duchene

With no break from a grueling 82-game regular season, NHL players fight exhaustion, injuries and high expectations entering the postseason. Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar commented on this fatigue after the Stars eliminated Colorado from the playoffs. 

“It was tiring, there’s no question. You can see our energy level drop as the periods went on, but our guys played hard. They played hard every shift and defended hard,” Bednar said.

The Avalanche have depended upon the strong leadership of Landeskog in times of past strife and struggle, and he’s been a key component to their team’s success. It stands to reason, then, that the return of their captain on the ice and as a fixture in their locker room could make a huge difference.

Besides morale, Landeskog has been dominant in the playoffs, notching 27 goals and 40 assists for a whopping 67 points in 69 career games. 

Gabriel Landeskog with the Stanley Cup

GettyGabriel Landeskog holds the Stanley Cup.

Landeskog, Avalanche Rule Out Retirement

Rumors of an impending retirement have loomed above Landeskog since his injury rehab hit the two-year mark, but any lingering whispers of retirement were swiftly done away with on May 23.

“Before we start, big news: Gabe is not retiring,” an Avalanche PR staffer said to open the press conference.

A key component of the retirement rumors had to do with Landeskog’s hefty $56 million, eight-year contract, of which Landeskog still has five seasons left, and the Avalanche’s struggle to re-sign certain players, potentially such as Jonathan Drouin, under the current salary cap.

Despite hanging in limbo with the team, MacFarland has expressed that neither the Avalanche nor Landeskog, are under any illusions that Landeskog’s rightful place is anywhere but with the team. 

“He’s a massive cog in what we’re trying to do, and he’s earned the right to have as much time as it takes to get back on the ice. So absolutely it’s a cap challenge. But definitely hopeful and we’re going to be 100% behind him, like he said, whether it’s September, October, November, whenever that day is, we’ll be super excited to see it, that’s for sure,” MacFarland said. 

Landeskog could be the missing piece for the Avalanche, and their success in clinching another Stanley Cup in the future, and MacFarland expressed that same point succinctly. 

“Listen, we can’t go and get a guy the caliber, the player or the person that Gabe is,” MacFarland said. 

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