Looking-glass effect

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

Don't be surprised if Shaun Landolt kicks it up a notch for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL post-season.

The 20-year-old has been red-hot down the stretch with three goals and three helpers through the Hitmen's final four games of the regular season.

Landolt, who is at a crossroads in his hockey career, said there are a few factors for his recent success, including a good look in the mirror.

"I knew I had to have a strong finish leading into the playoffs for my last year," said the overager from Cloverdale, B.C.

"I'm looking for a contract and somewhere to play next year, so I sat down and evaluated what I need to do and thought about doing the little things a little better and paying more attention to detail."

Landolt posted a career-high 42 points this year, notching 17 goals and 25 assists. That included a promotion to the Hitmen's top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Andrew Ladd.

"Besides the points, I'm happy with the way I'm playing. Our line is starting to click now. It was a little difficult with Ryan getting that concussion, so our chemistry's really good now,"said Landolt, a 6-ft. 1-in., 205-lb. centre.

With the best-of-seven Eastern Conference quarter-finals getting underway tomorrow night in Lethbridge against the Hurricanes, Landolt knows his line is going to be counted on to provide a good chunk of the Hitmen scoring punch.

"It's going to be a challenge and I know Ryan and Andrew are up for that. They're good hockey players with world juniors experience and stuff like that, so hopefully I can play good defence and complement the two of them," said Landolt, who won 60% of the faceoffs he took this season.

But Landolt shouldn't sell himself short because he has one of the hardest shots on the team, if not the WHL.

Most players know Getzlaf has a cannon but Hitmen co-coach Dean Evason said few in the league can fire the puck as hard as Landolt can.

"With Ladd on the other side there, the three of them can shoot the puck like a lot of pros," noted Evason.

"Landolt has one of the hardest shots and he plays the point on the powerplay because of that."

He also kills penalties and plays four-on-four for the Hitmen, who count on Landolt to be the top line's crash-and-bang guy.

"He got some points but his work ethic has allowed him to do that," Evason said.

"We've asked him to be a physical presence and he's up in the top four or five in hitting on the team, so we haven't noticed a difference because he does the same thing.

"Maybe he doesn't put the numbers up but every night you see Landolt because he brings that physical presence to our hockey club and we look to him as a leader."

With the NHL still locked out, Landolt likely will be a free agent by June 1, unless the Toronto Maple Leafs offer him a contract before then.

"We'll have to see but it all depends on how well we do in the playoffs," said the former Moose Jaw Warrior.

"The best case is signing a contract if they work this thing out with the NHL. Whatever Toronto does, if they drop me, I'll look at different options like Europe or the ECHL."


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