FTHM III: GABRIEL LANDESKOG

Could Gabriel Landeskog of the Kitchener Rangers be the hard-nosed winger with very good hands that the Edmonton Oilers, and every NHL team for that matter, wants and needs?

Enough amateur scouts think so that Landeskog will certainly be in the conversation when it comes to the Oilers, who will have the first overall pick at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota June 24-25.

I talked with Oilers chief scout Stu MacGregor about Landeskog and got his quick assessment of the Kitchener captain. I’ve added particulars and comments from the Central Scouting Service courtesy of NHL.com, although there are several other reputable scouting services that can be referenced for more on Landeskog.

I’ve done likewise for top North American skaters Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Sean Couturier and Jonathan Huberdeau, as well as for Adam Larsson, the top-rated skater among European players, and I’ll run those items in coming days.

THE SKINNY FROM CSS

Gabriel Landeskog

North American Skater

Kitchener, OHL

Final Rank: 2 Midterm Rank: 1

Position: Left Wing

Shoots: Left Height: 6′ 0" Weight: 207

Born: November 23, 1992 Born in: Stockholm, SWE

NHL Central Scouting’s Peter Sullivan

"Gabriel does remind me of former Kitchener Ranger (and Philadelphia Flyers captain) Mike Richards. He sticks up for his teammates and is as strong at both ends of the rink as any player in the draft this year. He competes as hard if not harder than anybody. He’s got all the assets that you need to be a team leader and, for a potential No. 1 overall, that’s what you would want."

— Despite an ankle injury shortening his season to just 53 games, Landeskog led Kitchener with 36 goals and a plus-27 rating. In the first round of the 2011 playoffs he led the Rangers forwards with 10 points (6-4-10) in the seven-game series loss to Plymouth.

— At 17-years old, he was the youngest player in 30 years to be named captain of the Kitchener Rangers and was the first European captain in the 48-year history of the Rangers franchise. His leadership experience extends most of his career – he wore the ‘C’ for Sweden’s under-16, under-17, and under-18 teams, and he even captained Djurgarden at the age of six.

MACGREGOR’S TAKE

Scouting Report: "He’s a powerful guy who is strong on the boards . . . he’s a very straight-ahead kind of player . . . he’s good off the cycle to the net and strong in front of the net . . . he can kill penalties as well and he’s got good hockey sense."

Projection: "He’s going to be a third-line player who could be a good second-line player."

 Best Case Scenario: "A second-line player who plays in all key situations for you."

Concerns: "He’s got to become a better skater."

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.