Anton Lander finally found a home in the NHL—but there are still rapids to negotiate. He is signed to a value contract and appears to be a lock for opening night—finally!—and a role inside the top 9F. With the caveat that things can change in a hurry, and there’s heaven and hell in the NHL, surely Anton Lander is part of the Edmonton Oilers future.
ANTON LANDER 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.21 (16th among forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 13th toughest competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Qual Team: 9th best competition among regulars (third line)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 43.9
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -.2
- Zone Start: 40% (6th toughest on the team among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: nil
- Boxcars: 27, 0-1-1
ANTON LANDER 14-15
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.60 (5th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 5.52 (2nd among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 13th toughest competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Qual Team: 12th best competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 48.6
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: 5.2
- Zone Start: 49.4%
- Shots on goal/percentage: 61 shots/9.8%
- Boxcars: 38, 6-14-20
RE 15-16: 75GP, 12-15-27 .360
- This RE is decidedly low. In order to predict 40 points for Lander, I’d have to project three scoring lines as reasonable. I honestly don’t believe the Oilers are there, although there are some formidable talents in the organization.
- It’s still low. I’m hedging bets, you’ll find that to be a theme from here to the end of the forward RE. We spent a lot of at-bats with the top players.
- Still, Lander is third-line center. Mark Letestu may have something to say about that and I imagine Leon will be along directly, but I agree the Swede has a job waiting for him this fall and a great opportunity to establish himself as an NHL player.
- Lander established himself with Todd Nelson. Yes he did, but there’s a new coach in town and Todd McLellan may feel Leon Draisaitl is ready, or that Mark Letestu is more effective as 3C. Lander is bona fide but he isn’t clearly established in my opinion.
- Come the hell on. I have Lander as the 3line center but this could go another way in my opinion. He could build trust with the new coach and last a decade, or might be gone by Christmas. Remember, Lander was on waivers last fall, available for nothing.
- I think you’re underestimating Lander’s 2014-15 season. He played extremely well, and then he played a major role at the World Championships. However, coaches see things their way. Pat Quinn had J-F Jacques on the top line opening night 2009-10 with Horcoff and Hemsky (with Gagner on the 4line with Moreau).
- You have Lander lining up with Yakupov? Yeah, Yakupov or Purcell, depending on how things roll there. He scored 2.07 5×5/60 with Purcell in about 86 minutes and of course Purcell is a veteran who can play either wing.
- Who do you like for LW? I’d like Leon Draisaitl but that blasted bonus issue is a real concern. Purcell—Lander—Yakupov isn’t the worst possible idea, but of course one of those guys is probably playing 2line. Korpikoski is also in the mix, Hendricks too although offense may be an issue with both veterans.
- Was there ever a sense Lander was part of MacT’s long term plan? Sure. MacT: “Much like Chicago’s got where they have three lines of offensive guys and a fourth line that can play against anybody. That’s what we’d really like to do. We need (Anton) Lander to step up and (Mark) Arcobello, or add a free-agent forward or two who can compete for those jobs. Maybe somebody who could come in and be a good fit with Yak (Nail Yakupov on the third line). We have the first line (Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle). If we can draft a guy at centre who can play, then we’d have that guy, Perron and Sam or some form of that.”
- Sounds like they’re in the same place this year. Well, no. They have Connor McDavid and four other elements (Hall, Nuge, Eberle, Pouliot) that appear certain. I’m betting that Teddy Purcell and Nail Yakupov lock in a life and death struggle for the No. 6 spot in the order, and now we’re at the 3line—the last really important jobs among the forwards. And 3C is the most important job in that group.
- If Lander can’t win that job, is it over? No, he could land as 3L or in a utility role similar to the one Marty Reasoner occupied so successfully while an Oiler. Lander is a talented player, there’s some concern about his bat but he can help for sure and he’s absolutely a value contract in my opinion. Hell, maybe he spends some time centering one of the top two lines with McDavid moving to wing. He does have a nice range of skills. Love this kind of player.
- If that’s true, why the ‘if he makes it’ angle? Part of RE is figuring out the most logical roster configuration. The Oilers have just signed Mark Letestu to a $1.8 million (per year), three-year deal. Did they do it with the intention of having him as the 4C, the 3C, or playing a utility role? Ciphering his role is a factor in establishing Lander’s.
- And then there’s Leon? Yes, an even more substantial factor moving forward, as the top 3C’s could be McDavid—Nuge—Draisaitl by season’s end. I think that plays into Lander’s hands pretty well though, as he’ll be the only inexpensive C and he can PK, be a part of the PP and is an effective player at evens.
- The Vollman has him in no man’s land. Lander played the minutes given and they were softer but not butter soft, and 1.60 is a pretty decent number 5×5/60 based on where he was in the order and his linemates.
- Did Lander do enough? I think he did, yes. He should get a chance to show well this fall and he’s certainly a talented hockey player. The questions I have about him are twofold: Is there enough offense for him to keep the 3C job, and does he get some power-play time in what is now an extremely deep group of candidates.
- What is your answer? No to the power play but I do think he hangs on to the 3C job (Letestu might jump up but Lander will be in the mix for the third line all year).
- Lander is too good for the AHL, can we agree? He had a splendid time down there for sure. His boxcars (29GP, 9-22-31) were terrific, he was 23-15 GF-GA ON 5×5, and his points-per-60 was 2.74 last season in OKC. These numbers are all via Eric Rodgers of Tend the Farm and Sin Bin Oilers. I’ll have a post up tomorrow on Rodgers’ splendid work and we’ll talk on the Lowdown Monday at 10:25 about the season in OKC.
- So in summary he makes the team as 3C but there’s a chance he plays another role? Yes. My RE is based on him playing most of the season in the 3C role but also getting less power-play time than last season (he got 2:03 per game as an Oiler in 2014-15). I can’t see him getting that kind of time, although it would be fabulous to see.
- Why? The worry for Lander is offense. If he can pull down some boxcars (4-3-7 on the PP last season) and make himself useful in that area, we’ll have an established two-way center who can do a lot of the work Shawn Horcoff was doing a decade ago. That’s an extremely valuable player.
- Does he have that in him? I don’t know that he has the offense, but he’s a solid bet to cover the rest. Anton Lander, once he improved his skating, has been deployed in a lot of roles by pretty much every coach past Renney (who loved him so much in a specific role that he kept him—a silly thing to do) because he earned trust.
- Is he MacGregor’s best second-round pick? I had Marincin as top pick from that round 2008-14 until last season but would have to say Lander’s impressive year puts him ahead. If the Swede can fill that important role at center, the 2009 draft will have delivered a very important piece.
- Why this song? Secondary moderns were schools (in England) for kids who didn’t get the highest marks. You had to be in the top 25% of marks to avoid it, and the secondary moderns ran from the end of the war through the 1970’s. God love the English, they love dividing everything into different classes.
- Okay, before I get really mad, can you explain why this applies to Lander? Well, Anton doesn’t belong in the top 25% offensively in this generation of Oilers, so he’s a secondary modern. I think he’s a fairly complete player that aside but the lack of offense keeps him from playing on a skill line and getting the good foolscap.
- McDavid and Nuge also make it difficult. Oh yeah, for sure. This is a ridiculous team at center now, just silly. I’d rather have Anton Lander than a bunch of center’s we’ve seen come here this century. I would only sound a small caution in regard to assuming things will run smoothly from now on. Marc Pouliot was in this same spot in 2009 summer and it didn’t work for him. There’s still some danger here.
- Lander is a more mature player than Pouliot. I tend to agree (remember the MacT ‘Carbonneau’ verbal?) but it’s worth keeping in mind as the summer stretches and we head to fall. Edmonton is very close to solving a legit roster need with a player drafted outside the first round. They’ve fumbled and bumbled but were unable to derail the steel jawed Swede with leadership abilities. I’m cheering like hell for him.
- Are you betting he wins the day? The RE says yes, save the power-play minutes.