THE LANDER LINE

Photo courtesy Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved. Anton Lander struggled last season, as the Oilers and Tom Renney kept running him out there in a league he was unprepared to conquer. This season, Lander’s slot on the OKC depth chart has been a moving target and most recently he’s suffered from food poisoning.

In a recent report card entry, Jonathan Willis had this to say about the young Swede:

  • Anton Lander: C- (6GP – 0G – 0A – 0PTS, +2). The only other forward on the team without a point is Cameron Abney. Lander hasn’t even been particularly noticeable offensively, despite generally playing on good lines. Six shots through six games isn’t nearly enough in the AHL, even for a primarily defensive center.

I think its important to talk about last season a little before embarking on the rest of this year. Lander’s NHL season in 11-12 was a disaster offensively  and at evens, but he did help on the PK as stated by our friend dawgbone:

  • dawgbone: Despite all his struggles at 5 on 5, he had a simply fantastic season killing penalties. He played a touch under 2 minutes per game 4 vs 5 and was behind Petrell, Smyth and Horcoff in terms of shot prevention on the PK. These are not easy minutes and Lander was able to contribute to a decent PK group. His biggest problem at the NHL level has been his in ability to keep the puck out of his own end, but that’s not just his fault.

 From a post I wrote in July:

  • is he going to score enough? These all leather, no wood types need to score a little just to stay in the lineup. That was the problem for a brilliant winger decades ago named Bill Lesuk. Lesuk was such a good penalty killer and shadow for opponents that he actually had a fairly long career. Teams would flush him from time to time in search of offense, but he’d always get another gig. A journeyman, they used to call them.

I think we need to keep in mind the defensive resume has already shown a little, even at a young age. However, you have to hit above a certain level (baseball calls it the ‘Mendoza’ line after Mario Mendoza) in order to play as a regular. That’s the question we have about Anton Lander. He had one season in the SEL (at 19) that suggested he could cash enough to be a big part of the team, and before that was a teenager building towards it.

Last season the poor kid was a deer in the headlights and now this season he’s wobbly. I don’t blame Lander, we saw glimpses of defensive ability and knew about the offensive issues. This is an organizational issue: get him healthy, feed him food that isn’t contaminated, find him two veterans, play him every night and give him 500 at-bats.

And if someone in management suggests a callup to Edmonton, then call in Vincent and Jules. Winston Wolf too if it starts getting a little bloody.

Anton Lander could be a useful player, the Oilers need to find out. They’ve been wasting time.

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15 Responses to "THE LANDER LINE"

  1. Jonathan Willis says:

    Unsurprisingly, I agree completely. Give him his time in the minors, and if a center is needed call-up Chris VandeVelde (or when healthy, sign Josh Green to an NHL contract)..

    He should have been in the minors last year; he was wasted in the role he was used in.

  2. Matt.N says:

    If we are lucky and Lander is handled correctly. He can maybe turn into Kyle Brodziak.

  3. DSF says:

    Matt.N,

    Kyle Brodziak is 6’2″ 220 and a great skater.

    Lander is 6’0″ 195.

    In his last 76 games, Lander has scored 3 goals and 8 assists.
    Brodziak scored 32 points in 56 games as an AHL rookie.

    Not a chance.

  4. RexLibris says:

    Jonathan Willis,

    Is there room for me on that bandwagon?

    I’d argue that Lander deserves the proverbial (at least it’s a proverb if I use it on the internet) “Detroit Treatment” and let him spend the next two years in the AHL before graduating him to the NHL. He obviously isn’t ready and moving him up too early only endangers his development. Bringing up VandeVelde doesn’t do any damage. He is now what he likely ever will become. Capitalize on what VandeVelde is today while giving Lander time to continue developing (accruing interest, so to speak) in the minors so that he can eventually develop into a good 3rd line center, or perhaps a excellent 4th line center if the Oilers are so lucky to develop that kind of depth.

  5. jfry says:

    Wow. I thought id come here and get a little political hogwash, yet nothing. Sweet!

  6. RexLibris says:

    jfry,

    How about this: Romney is strong on the one wing (guess which), but Obama shows that in order to win you have to build down the center.

    Sufficient?

    Moroz with a goal tonight. Ewanyk the first assist.

  7. loosemoose says:

    Funny some guys proclaimed Lander as possible second line center…..

    Heart is one thing that is very hard to quantify, especially with young players. That alway seemed to be THE selling point on him, which is a little concerning, although, as you point out LT, there is a defensive game to be had……and even Gregor mentioned he made an impression with his will to win, and drive, both good traits. But everyone knows offence drives the bus in the Show….

    I think Lander could still make it, but third/fourth line center, PK’er seems about high-end, no?

  8. Gi JQE says:

    Kyle BRODZIAK put up pretty solid numbers in Junior. 30 goals last two seasons and a 90+ season in last year with the Warriors. His AHL production was 30+ points each of the first two years then 56 in his 3rd year AHL. He has scored 30+ points each year except 1 in the bigs. Man did we throw away a gem!

    I don’t think we can hope for LANDER to pan out quite like that. BRODZIAK has more of an offensive ability than he gets credit for IMO.. He has just been placed in defensive roles and adapted to it well.

    LANDER needs a long time in the minors to get some offense roling and maybe confidence?

  9. Lowetide says:

    Lander had a pretty good season in the SEL at age 19. It’s an island I know, but it is part of his resume.

  10. uni says:

    Don’t forget, the Oilers may have traded Brodziak (now a 0.5ppg defensively adept centre, with size and speed) and a 6th round pick, but look what they got in return!

    Not just a 4th round pick but a 5th round pick too! Genius!

    The Oilers wisely chose not to trade something like their 3rd round pick for a 4th and a 5th from any number of teams that would have jumped on that, but saved it to draft future impact player and gem Cameron Abney. We all know that marginal players with little actual skill at the professional level but can punch are rare and aren’t even remotely available every off season…so job well done!

  11. uni says:

    In related news, Tony Rajala was recently the runner up for player of a the month in the ECHL after putting up 4 goals and 3 assists in 3 games. He was beaten out by a lad that put up 7 points in 2 games.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/stockton-thunder-rookie-toni-rajala-runner-up-for-echl-player-of-the-week-award

  12. jp says:

    Gi JQE,
    Lowetide,

    You’re right that Brodziak’s offense is underrated, and that Lander’s offense has been very unimpressive, but the SEL is a good league. For what it’s worth, the NHLEs for their 18 and 19 yo seasons:

    Brodziak (18) 82GP 21PTS
    Brodziak (19) 82GP 33PTS

    Lander (18) 82GP 21PTS
    Lander (19) 82GP 31PTS

    Almost identical. And Lander has scored well at the Jr and World Jr/U18 levels too (http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=6016&lang=en), it’s just that he’s been playing in the SEL pretty much full time since he was 16. It’s a fair comparison, and with some time against guys close(r) to his own age there’s no reason to doubt Lander can develop into a useful 3C or 4C like Brodziak has.

  13. Gi JQE says:

    jp,

    Thanks JP. I did not actually realize that the SEL — NHLE did compare like such. However he would need to start putting it together in the AHL for me to get on board… here is hoping.

  14. jp says:

    Gi JQE,

    100% agree he needs to show more. Just saying that there’s some reason to believe he can.

  15. Dalton says:

    uni: Don’t forget, the Oilers may have traded Brodziak (now a 0.5ppg defensively adept centre, with size and speed) and a 6th round pick, but look what they got in return!

    Not just a 4th round pick but a 5th round pick too! Genius!

    The Oilers wisely chose not to trade something like their 3rd round pick for a 4th and a 5th from any number of teams that would have jumped on that, but saved it to draft future impact player and gem Cameron Abney. We all know that marginal players with little actual skill at the professional level but can punch are rare and aren’t even remotely available every off season…so job well done!

    The sarcasm is so thick in this post, it collapsed under its own weight and a baby star was born.

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