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Landeskog named youngest captain in NHL history

Colorado Avalanche left wing Gabriel Landeskog (92), from Sweden, skates past Calgary Flames left wing Curtis Glencross (20) during the third period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 20, 2012, in Denver.

Associated Press

Move over Sidney Crosby.

The Colorado Avalanche made NHL history on Tuesday afternoon in naming Swedish teenager Gabriel Landeskog as the organization's fourth captain, putting what was the youngest franchise in the league last season in the hands of the youngest captain ever.

At 19 years and 286 days, Landeskog is a mere 11 days younger than Crosby when the Pittsburgh Penguins named him captain in May of 2007.

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The Avs said in a statement that the captaincy became vacant when veteran Milan Hejduk decided to relinquish the role.

It's a curious move for a franchise that has a wealth of top young talent, with all of Paul Stastny, Matt Duchene, Ryan O'Reilly and Erik Johnson between the age of 21 and 26 and potentially in line for a leadership role.

Landeskog, however, is coming off a remarkable first NHL season in which he was named the rookie of the year after putting up 22 goals and 52 points.

Drafted second overall in 2011 behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Landeskog also has some leadership experienced as he was the first European captain of the Kitchener Rangers during his junior career.

He was also an alternate captain for Sweden at the recent world championships.

Only four players have ever worn the C prior to turning 20 years old: Brian Bellows, Crosby and Vincent Lecavalier. (Bellows, however, only had a letter on an interim basis for the Minnesota North Stars.)

Long-time Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman held the record for youngest player to be named permanent captain for nearly 14 years between 1986 and when the Tampa Bay Lightning named Lecavalier captain in 2000.

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Since then, Jonathan Toews, Crosby and now Landeskog have all received captaincies younger than Yzerman, who was 21 years, 151 days.

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Hockey Reporter

James joined The Globe as an editor and reporter in the sports department in 2005 and now covers the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs. More

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