Gabriel Landeskog has been named assistant captain for Team Sweden at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and he will round out a leadership group that also includes captain Henrik Zetterberg and alternate Niklas Kronwall. That’s some outstanding company for the 21-year-old, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Even before his days as a member of the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL, Landeskog was viewed as captain material during international play. He wore the C for Sweden’s under-16, under-17 and under-18 teams and served as an alternate during the 2012 IIHF World Championship.
He’s more or less been groomed to take on this leadership role for Sweden during international competitions, and after Henrik Sedin was forced out of the Olympics with an injury, the nation didn’t wait long to name Landeskog as his replacement. He spoke to Swedish magazine Expressen about how he felt after hearing the news (translated by Colorado’s official website):
It was a bit unexpected but on the other had [sic], I am grateful for the confidence and of course it’s a great honor to get the nomination.
Team Sweden sees the same qualities in Landeskog as the Colorado Avalanche, who made him the youngest captain in NHL history. He was only 19 years, 286 days old when the Avalanche gave him the C. He’s excelled in that leadership role for Colorado, and has the pedigree needed to be a strong locker room presence for Sweden as well.