September 20, 2011
A look at the score sheet may not give Colorado Avalanche fans the whole picture when considering the potential of rookies Gabriel Landeskog and Stefan Elliott.
The possibilities were likely apparent to the 2,570 fans on hand for the Burgundy/White Game Tuesday night even if it did not show up in the stats of the 4-3 scrimmage win for the White.
Elliott, a defenseman, managed two shots at Cadet Ice Arena on the Air Force Academy campus while Landeskog, the No. 2 pick of the Colorado Avalanche in the 2011 NHL Draft, got one on net. Those stats may not impress, but it was what didn’t appear on the score sheet that has the organization excited.
“Landeskog played well and he’s had a good camp,” said coach Joe Sacco. “He’s very strong on the puck, plays wise beyond his years and is good along the boards.”
The left wing used his 6-foot, 207-pound frame to create problems in front, especially during the White’s six power plays.
“It’s been like a dream, but at this point you have to put that aside,” Landeskog said. “I need to keep playing my game and the production will come.”
His size would be a welcome addition to a forward corps that was undersized last season, which may have contributed to the rash of injuries.
Elliott, the 49th overall pick in 2009, showed off a hard shot that explained how he generated 81 points (50 assists) in 71 games in the Western Hockey League last season.
The intensity picked up later in the scrimmage, best exemplified when the squads traded goals 18 seconds apart in the third period to knot the score at 3-3.
White’s Erik Johnson, a former St. Louis first-round pick, scored the game-winner 1:41 later.
Former North Dakota standout Brad Malone kept up his strong bid to make the Avs when he opened the scoring on a breakaway against goalie Semyon Varlamov. He seemed to be around the puck the whole scrimmage.
“I’m just trying to make the coaches’ decision as hard as I can,” Malone said.
Center Peter Mueller, who lost significant time last season because of concussions, recorded two shots, including one on a failed breakaway in the first period.
“He’s getting better every day,” Sacco said. “The preseason is important for him to get used to the physical play.”