#9 Prospect: Anton Lander

Winter 2009: #10

Summer 2010: #8
Winter 2010: #9
Using math to place Anton Lander properly into the top 20 is almost impossible. For pure skill players, we can assess based on numbers, and the other factors (size, speed, etc) are somewhat universal. You’re either fast or slow, tall or short, lean or stout. Anton Lander’s best asset is the approval of the hockey men who’ve seen him. For a blog that loves math to place him this high, there must be a lot of verbal flowing.
It’s an ocean.
The scouting reports on his draft day:
  • ISS: Lander is a two-way checking forward with excellent outside speed. He can make plays at full speed and controls the puck with a lot of confidence. A very unselfish player, Lander is always aware of where his teammates are and makes good crisp passes. He is a hard working forechecker, keeping his feet moving all the time. With a strong quick release wrist shot, he often uses d-men as a screen off the offensive rush. Lander drives the net hard with and without the puck and doesn’t quit on the puck until the whistle goes. Reliable and disciplined, he brings a consistent effort to the rink every game and always improves his team’s chances of winning a game. Will adapt and play any role given by coach.”
  • Elite Prospects: A very smart two-way player with excellent hockey sense. Lander reads the game well and makes mature decisions with and without the puck. Plays with some intensity, but his skating needs some improvement. Is a capable playmaker that protects the puck very well and usually comes out with the puck from the corners and along the boards. Defensively aware and with leadership skills.
The biggest endorsement I’ve seen for Lander on this side of the pond comes from Stu MacGregor after they took him:
  • “Very excited about Anton. He’s a player we look at as a potential second-line centre with for sure third-line ability. He’s a great faceoff man, competitive at both ends of the ice. Smart, captain of the Swedish under-18 team. All of our interviews with all of the Swedish players this past year, everybody spoke extremely high of him. Their leader was Anton Lander.”

I’m at a point where I’d eat tofu if MBS told me to (he MUST know what he’s talking about!) so this comment counts a lot in assessing Lander’s overall skills.

Anton Lander’s scouting reports suggest his skill set lends itself to a defensive role in the NHL. The question we have to ask is “will be bring enough offense?” Early returns this year are extremely encouraging:

  • (Age 17) 47gp, 4-6-10 (.213) -2 40.28FO%
  • (Age 18) 49gp, 7-9-16 (.327) -2 47.32FO%
  • (Age 19) 26gp, 6-6-12 (.462) +1 46.63FO%

That’s some nice progress there. Desjardins’ NHLE suggests his current season would be about 82gp, 15-15-30. That’s a nice offensive season for a strong checking forward. His TOI totals imply he plays a lot of minutes, though (18:10 so far this season) so that may be a little aggressive.

Lander’s press clippings are ridiculous. Seriously. The Swedes are just choosing their world junior team and this article has some beauty quotes:

  • Coach Roger Ronnberg: “We have such a cool mix of different types of players on the forward side.  Anton Lander is an incredibly important players. He is a great leader, and leads both Timra and national team.”

I don’t really have a strong math story for Anton Lander. His NHLE’s suggest he’ll deliver enough offense to be a solid 3rd line NHL center and the Swedes love him (both coaches and press). Unless they’re lying to us, he looks like an excellent prospect.

I go back to Doug Jarvis. These kids (checkers) rarely show themselves as checkers this early on, and Jarvis was one of them. I’m not suggesting Lander will be Jarvis (a faceoff machine and extremely durable) but there’s something happening here and math doesn’t know what it is. If he ends up being what the scouting reports imply (heavy minutes checker who is a little shy offensively for minutes played but can win faceoffs and shutdown the toughs) then Samuel Pahlsson is his doppelganger.

Lander ranks #9 based on the glowing reports. We wait.

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