Given how high many of us, including myself, were at the prospect of drafting Landeskog back when it was still probable that the Senators would end up with a top-three pick, given his recognised talent and leadership, and given his love for the Ottawa Senators, I must admit that I am saddened that the team was unable to get its hands on the Kitchener Rangers star.
It is possible, of course, that Landeskog does not turn out to be the player he has been projected to become.
But supposing he does, would it be worth the Senators trying, eventually, to trade with the Avalanche in order to acquire Landeskog?
In two or three years, I believe that the time may be ripe for such a trade to be made. I emphasise may, for of course the Senators' own prospects at forward, and players who are or will be counted on to be leaders, may have developed to the point where acquiring Landeskog is unnecessary or an irrelevancy. Landeskog himself, moreover, may become a leader with the Avalanche and opt to remain with them long-term.
But suppose Bryan Murray really wants to get his hands on Landeskog. What would be the price the Senators should pay, and what effect would the trade and arrival of (let's say) a first-line winger have on the team?
If memory serves, the typical cost of trading up to get a top-five pick (and usually a lower pick) in the draft is a first-round pick, a second- or third-round pick, and a prospect. Let's use this as a baseline; the Avalanche will want to at least recoup their investment in Landeskog, and assuming he develops into an élite player, as many expect him to, his cost to a team wishing to trade for him will be high, even if he is on an entry-level deal.
Probably if Murray really wanted him, he would have to trade to the Avalanche a prospect of similar calibre and a pick or two, one of which will need to be fairly high: at least a second-round pick. The Senators would thus have to be confident that Landeskog is going to be better than anyone they could expect to draft in whatever season they trade for him: in the short-term he would be, being much further along in terms of development, but the team would have to take into account the long-term as well.
In the time I have projected for such a trade to take place, the team's Senate Reform should be well underway, and the loss of a high-quality prospect and pick or picks might well be worth it. By then it would be reasonable to expect that Murray will have plenty of good prospects, some of whom might be worth using as tradeable assets.
As for the impact on the team, Landeskog would (were he to in fact play on the first line) move the rest of the players on the left wing down the depth chart. But it is unlikely that, by then, the team will have a well-established group of quality wingers, the equilibrium of which would be spoiled by Landeskog's arrival.
Presently on the left wing (officially, not considering alternative places these players can play) are: a) Nikita Filatov, who is unlikely to still be with the Senators by the time a trade for Landeskog is feasible (although you never know); b) Milan Michalek, who could be moved without too much trouble down to the second line; and, c) Nick Foligno, who may or may not be with the team by the best possible time to acquire Landeskog, and he would not be a first-line winger in any event.
Other players who might be on the left wing include (I believe) Peter Regin, Jakob Silfverberg, and newly-drafted prospect Matt Puempel, among others. At this point, so far as anyone can tell, Silfverberg and Puempel are the most likely to be first-line wingers. This would suggest that one of them would have to be part of the deal with Colorado to acquire Landeskog, so the impact of the trade on one of them would be immediate.
In any case, preconditions for such a trade include need and depth. Murray should only make the trade (the Avalanche willing) if the team is going to be better with Landeskog than without. And in my view the team needs to have sufficient depth at forward to mitigate the loss of depth the trade is likely to incur, the arrival of a first-line player notwithstanding. The second prerequisite, I think, is sure to be met in a few years' time; as for the first, only time will tell.
Finally, here is what I think would be the most expensive (and thus most likely) return to the Avalanche in exchange for Gabriel Landeskog, assuming such a trade takes place in about two years: Ottawa receives Gabriel Landeskog and Colorado's 2nd-round 2013 (or even 2014) draft pick; Colorado receives one of Mika Zibanejad or Matt Puempel or Jakob Silfverberg or Bobby Butler, Ottawa's 1st-round 2013 draft pick, and Ottawa's 3rd-round 2013 draft pick, and possibly a less highly prized prospect (someone like Colin Greening or Eric Condra).
P.S. As the recent trade for Semyon Varlamov shows (not to mention Ottawa's trading Brian Elliott for Craig Anderson earlier this year), Avalanche GM Greg Sherman could be taken for a bit of a ride, in which case the Senators could feasibly acquire Landeskog by trade theft, but it might be too much to hope that Sherman will still be the Avs GM by then.