“Like I said back in April, at that point we’d come to the conclusion that coming back and playing in the playoffs wasn’t an option and wasn’t going to be something we could do,” Landeskog said Tuesday. “I’ve talked to numerous doctors and medical experts, getting opinions, learning more about what the different procedures would be.
“This is the one that we feel like is the best way forward and the best solution for me to come back and play hockey again. So it’s been a process, but at the same time I feel confident in the decision, and I’m excited to get going and excited to have the first step out of the way tomorrow morning.
“I guess it’s an uncommon procedure for elite athletes, and hockey players even more so, but basketball players have done them, and I’ve actually spoken to [Chicago Bulls point guard] Lonzo Ball that just had the same procedure done a couple of months ago probably at this point. So been able to talk a little bit with him. He’s had a similar last 14 months that I have with a couple of minor procedures and things like that.”
The Avalanche captain missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs and all of this season following knee surgery in October. At the time, Landeskog was expected to be sidelined 12 weeks. He has not played since June 26, 2022, getting an assist to help the Colorado win the Stanley Cup with a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 of the Cup Final.
“It was first mentioned to me back in September of 2022, so yeah, this past September, along with the option that we just went through, but in my mind it was about exhausting every possible option at the right time,” Landeskog said. “Yeah, my knee had been bothering me for a long time, but I still felt like if we could just stick with the rehab and take our time with it, do it right, not rush through anything to make a certain deadline or timeline, at the time I was confident that I could get back and play, not realizing that maybe that the damage was kind of already done.”
Landeskog also had knee surgery March 21, 2022. He missed 23 games but came back to help Colorado win the Cup with 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) and a team-high plus-15 in 20 playoff games. He had surgery on his quad during the 2020 postseason.
“The timeline goes back to the bubble in 2020,” he said in April. “Kind of a freak accident that happens there. Never had any knee issues before that. One thing led to the next and it just sort of progressively got worse over that next year. Start of [last] season it started bugging me on a daily basis. It got worse and worse up until the point that we got the first surgery. At that point I didn’t really realize the complexity of the injury and how one injury can, obviously it compensates.”
Landeskog said Tuesday he is certain he will play again.
“I have not contemplated retirement at all, to be honest with you,” he said. “I have spent lots of time thinking about it, and when you do come back, for me, I know it’s not going to be perfect right off the get-go. It’s a long time away from the game, but I’m confident in the player I am. I’m confident in the athlete that I am. And I know that I can get myself ready, and I know, with the right guidance and with the right people around me, I’m confident that I’ll get back out there and make a big impact on the ice.”
The 30-year-old has 571 points (248 goals, 323 assists) in 738 regular-season games, all with Colorado, and 67 points (27 goals, 40 assists) in 69 playoff games.
“Gabe Landeskog is a really special player in the NHL, and for our team, his importance transcends the ice,” Avalanche general manager Chris MacFarland said. “In terms of replacing him, it’s really hard just to replace your captain and what he does off the ice, as good of a player as he is on the ice. He’s a hard guy to replace.”
MacFarland also provided injury updates on several other Avalanche players, including goalie Pavel Francouz, forward Artturi Lehkonen, defenseman Josh Manson and center Andrew Cogliano.
“Pavel Francouz had a procedure done on an adductor, and Artturi Lehkonen, we know he broke a finger and then he broke a toe … when he came back early. He played through that,” MacFarland said. “Josh Manson (lower body) had a procedure done last week as well. So these are guys that were were playing through a lot of stuff through the year, and then we had a few other guys.”
Cogliano, who sustained a fractured C5 lamina in his neck after a hit from Seattle Kraken forward Jordan Eberle in Game 6 of the Western Conference First Round, was playing through an AC sprain sustained in a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets on April 13.
“To my knowledge, ‘Cogs’ has a 6-8 week recovery, I believe,” MacFarland said. “I could be off on on that timeline, but I don’t think anything procedurally is expected at this point in time.”
Colorado (50-24-7) finished first in the Central Division this season but lost to Seattle in seven games in the first round.
NHL.com independent correspondent Ryan Boulding contributed to this report