LANDER

The Edmonton Oilers could sure use a lift this fall from the Stu MacGregor draft bin–one of two of those 2nd rounders (and beyond) turning into actual NHL players would be golden. From what I can tell, Craig MacTavish is planning on using Anton Lander in a 4th line role (that could change depending on what is available over the summer). Is Lander ready?

MODIFIED VOLLMAN

lander puc

This is sort of cheating (I’ve added Boyd Gordon so the graph doesn’t fall over on its side) but a nice view of Lander’s role a year ago with the Oilers 5×5. In 11 games, he’s in the sheltered part of the storm and has a small blue (good) balloon (this is CorsiRel). That’s a small sample size (11 games) and I don’t really think any of us were thinking “man, get Lander more at-bats” but I do find it interesting that the Oilers don’t seem to be aggressively pursuing any other options.

I wonder if they think he’s turned some kind of corner. Here are his splits this season:

  • October through December: 27, 2-4-6 .222
  • January through April: 20, 7-7-14 .700
  • Playoffs: 8, 5-3-8 1.00

As well, his SOG totals rose over each period (Oct through Dec: 29 in 27 games, 1.07 shots-per-game; Jan through April: 49 in 20 games, 2.45 shots-per-game; Playoffs: 27 in 8 games, 3.38 shots-per-game). At what point do we count this as a positive? Remember, he does have a nice reputation as a checker, so the offense just has to represent breaking even for him to be a legit 4th liner (he should be able to help on the PK, even as a winger).

During the OKC RE series I suggested “reasonable expectations” would be 70, 10-20-30 (.429 point per game) and he delivered 55, 14-14-28 (.509) in the regular season and playoffs. Which raises the question: is this the time to see if Anton Lander can play 4line NHL minutes and keep his head above water? Is the Vollman Sledgehammer (in a small sample size) and his progress after mid-season offensively enough to suggest the time to find out about him is now?

Is Anton Lander a valuable enough prospect to invest a roster spot on during the 2013-14 season? The current evidence suggests Craig MacTavish’s answer is yes.

(photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).

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41 Responses to "LANDER"

  1. theres oil in virginia says:

    I say give him a shot, but what happens if he fails?

  2. magisterrex says:

    Looking at that graph, all I can think about is “wow, Belanger sucked”.

  3. Lowetide says:

    theres oil in virginia:
    I say give him a shot, but what happens if he fails?

    Current pro depth chart at C:

    1. Nuge
    2. Gagner (rfa)
    3. Gordon
    4. Lander
    5. Arcobello (ahl)
    6. Miller (ahl)
    7. Acton (ahl)
    8. Martindale

    I think the ‘next in line’ if Lander fails is probably Acton.

  4. Lowetide says:

    magisterrex:
    Looking at that graph, all I can think about is “wow, Belanger sucked”.

    Well he did get the bad zone starts but yeah Belanger was a massive disappointment.

  5. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide,

    God help us if it comes to that. I think I qualify as a “MacT apologist”, but if he goes into the season like this, it’s a big failure.

    I understand the spectrum of viewpoints on Grabovski, but something must be done, especially with Nuge recovering.

  6. Gerta Rauss says:

    Lowetide: Current pro depth chart at C:

    1. Nuge
    2. Gagner (rfa)
    3. Gordon
    4. Lander
    5. Arcobello (ahl)
    6. Miller (ahl)
    7. Acton (ahl)
    8. Martindale

    I think the ‘next in line’ if Lander fails is probably Acton.

    That depth chart doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. We should be aiming higher-we should be past the days of “throw him in there and see how he does”. Finding a 4C with a specific-established- skillset (either faceoffs or defensive zone play or “meat”) shouldn’t be a unrealistic goal for a GM.

  7. theres oil in virginia says:

    I’m thinking that it might be good to have Lander fill that 4C spot while Nuge is out. Then when he returns you can evaluate what to do with Lander. Right now Lander is 3C, assuming Nuge really does miss games as forecast.

  8. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Acton is the new VV… plays 4C if Lander goes down. If RNH or Gagner go down, we can bring Arco up… he can play the soft minutes offensive #2 role… or Perron can play C.

    Our biggest problem is if Gordon goes down… Lander at 3C & Acton at 4C is a big problem. Otherwise we’re fine.

    If 2 go down we’re in trouble, but that’s true of most teams.

    Long story short: 1 more C would be nice.

  9. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “Is Anton Lander a valuable enough prospect to invest a roster spot on during the 2013-14 season? The current evidence suggests Craig MacTavish’s answer is yes.”

    God I hope not.

    I’m a big Lander fan. There is something about that angular jaw that rubs other teams the wrong way. he’s no Marchand… but there is something about him that drives people nuts and that I find compelling… plus I just like the guy and am pulling for him.

    but… he needs another year to simply be awesome in OKC and not have over-heated expectations thrown his way. He’s not a blue-chip plug-and-play yet. give him time.

    ——–

    “The Edmonton Oilers could sure use a lift this fall from the Stu MacGregor draft bin–one of two of those 2nd rounders (and beyond) turning into actual NHL players would be golden.”

    It would be really nice if one of the following grew into a player for us that could handle NHL minutes: Nash, Omark, Motin, Lander, Abney, Rajala, Pitlick, Martindale, Hamilton, Ewanyk, Rieder (those are all the Fs taken between 2-4 rounds from 2007-2011)

  10. striatic says:

    Lowetide: Current pro depth chart at C:

    1. Nuge
    2. Gagner (rfa)
    3. Gordon
    4. Lander
    5. Arcobello (ahl)
    6. Miller (ahl)
    7. Acton (ahl)
    8. Martindale

    I think the ‘next in line’ if Lander fails is probably Acton.

    which means the real ‘next in line’ is Smyth at C. again.

  11. SinceTheWHADays says:

    Current evidence may suggest that MacT was unable to find anything better.

  12. FastOil says:

    If Lander can’t handle 4th line duties at this point and at least break even against plugs I am not liking his chances. He’s 22 and supposed to be the future 3C right? As a defensive oriented player he should at least be able to defend against the worst even if he doesn’t score much to even stay in the 3C conversation.

    It would suggest he just doesn’t have NHL talent if he can’t outplay dregs at this point. Perhaps MacT wants to see if he does have it as he’s RFA next year.

    The biggest issue to me is that if the Oilers make the playoffs they won’t likely be able to roll 4 lines enough. Especially if Joensuu is playing there unless the Isles were really wrong about him and he’s actually a solid 2 way player and they didn’t notice. The other J winger doesn’t have my confidence so I won’t go there.

    When the top half is green the bottom half should be gray, and vice versa.

  13. SinceTheWHADays says:

    Was Smithson that much worse?

  14. Ca$h-Money! says:

    FastOil,

    He must be good. Everyone knows the Isles owe us one for Colin McDonald.

    That’s how it works, right?

  15. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    SinceTheWHADays:
    Was Smithson that much worse?

    probably not:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/06/02/the-case-for-jerred-smithson/

    “Still, Oilers probably could do worse for 4th/5th line forward depth; bear in mind that at season’s end Smithson was the biggest active forward on the team, while his seasonal totals in faceoff percentage, hits, and blocked shots were all #1 on the squad. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have a Barry Trotz-trained veteran as a bottom-of-the-roster grinder on a young team that is still learning the ropes defensively. From this distance such a player might make an ideal 13th forward.”

  16. OilClog says:

    Realistically that 4th line center might play what.. 8 minutes this season a game. It’s still 8 weeks until training camp? Not too worried about who the 4th line center is yet.

    I don’t believe MacT isn’t pursuing other options right now.. He’s been making moves and moves and moves since day 1. No one saw Belov coming, Kruger leaving, Teemu leaving.. There is some players for that role still out, trades still to be done. Gordon could be in that role for all we know.

  17. Rebilled says:

    Here’s the 4 centres listed in the best available group left on sportsnet.

    1. Grabovski
    2. Gomez
    3. Mueller
    4. Raymond (19 games)

    or Lander.

    a trade that involves someone else.

    “I have several teams talking to Grabovksi,” agent Gary Greenstin told the Toronto Star. “We’ll see what direction we go. He’s not worried.”

    Are any of the teams blue and orange?

  18. Cobbler says:

    magisterrex,

    Based on Lander’s numbers it doesn’t look like he was overly sheltered this past year and was break-evenish on the corsi rel. Would be good to see how he might handle tougher zone starts and better QoC. At some point as well we need to see if he can bring enough offense for a 3C, and that may be best developed in a lead role in OKC. I am still confused about what kind of player Lander will be.

    The Oilers would be best to have an available replacement for Lander should he falter.

    Belanger on the basis of the chart above did not suck. His point production was non-existant and that was the issue. I really wonder with that punishing ZS if he really had much chance at generating offence. I believe here that the player is largely to blame, but that kind of deployment has to stifle the offence.

  19. Numenius says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: probably not:

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/06/02/the-case-for-jerred-smithson/

    “Still, Oilers probably could do worse for 4th/5th line forward depth; bear in mind that at season’s end Smithson was the biggest active forward on the team, while his seasonal totals in faceoff percentage, hits, and blocked shots were all #1 on the squad. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have a Barry Trotz-trained veteran as a bottom-of-the-roster grinder on a young team that is still learning the ropes defensively. From this distance such a player might make an ideal 13th forward.”

    I’m liking the Smithson idea more and more for a year.

    He’d likely be happy with a one-year deal at low cost. He’s a C who is actually good at face-offs, hitting, blocking shots, and being hard to play against. He moves the play from his own zone to the offensive zone (In Florida in ’11-’12 he had the worst zone starts of the forwards (36.6%) and ended up with 42.7% zone finishes, which was the 2nd best conversion rate of the forwards). And he’s not so good that he would totally prevent Lander from getting a chance to prove himself on the fourth line. (which is good and bad…)

    The main negative is obviously his offence (35 2-3-5 with Florida ’12-’13), but with all of the skill on the team, that may not be too serious. He’d also help indirectly because he’d give them room to manoeuvre.

  20. TheOtherJohn says:

    Lander isn’t scoring anywhere. We need to add his playoff scoring to avoid it looking really bad. If he takes a BIG step forward at camp, sure, use him as a bandaid till Nuge is back. Worst part of this is he might be further ahead if he had played 2 full seasons in OKC. Thought MacT wanted 3rd & 4th line to push positive arrows. Lander has not done that successfully in either league

    Have no idea why everyone keeps pointing to Acton as a viable option at C. Will Acton is the same age as VandeVele and has scored less than VV. And VV doesnt score enough. If Acton plays many games for Oilers kiss the playoffs goodbye

  21. SinceTheWHADays says:

    Personally I don’t think 4C needs to score that much. A point every four games and the ability for the line to cycle in th OZ plus the desire to eat nails in the DZ and we’re set. What do we really need of the 4C? Smithson wins draws, hits, blocks shots, and is big & cheap. Even if he’s the 13 forward depth guy…what more do we want?

  22. Lowetide says:

    TOJ: the playoff numbers are neither more or less difficult, but the role played by Lander later in the season suggests a more offensive slot and more minutes. Before the lockout, Lander would have been well down the list of centers (Nuge, Arco, etc) but beginning in January opportunities were stronger.

    I don’t think there’s an elite scorer here, but it’s important to remember the offense early had a very unusual back story.

  23. Gordies Elbow says:

    FastOil,

    Personally, I would take a long look at David Steckel as the 4C. 57.1% in the dot, 6’6″, 215lbs. 2 years, $2.3m, $1.15m cap hit?

  24. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Rebilled: Here’s the 4 centres listed in the best available group left on sportsnet.
    1. Grabovski
    2. Gomez
    3. Mueller
    4. Raymond (19 games)

    Are all those guys Cs? I count only two in there.

    You’re not chasing Grabo for the 4th line, sign him and push Gagner out for a D or switch him to the wing… Steckel is a good choice for 4 C. Lapierre would have been nice.

    Numenius: I’m liking the Smithson idea more and more for a year.

    If Smithson is the 13th/14th forward I’m fine with that. Rather a defensive C than a facepuncher.

    I think I’d prefer him to Lander at 4C… but that’s isn’t saying much.

    Gordies Elbow:
    FastOil,

    Personally, I would take a long look at David Steckel as the 4C. 57.1% in the dot, 6’6″, 215lbs. 2 years, $2.3m, $1.15m cap hit?

    Sounds great! I’d look to that Lapierre contract as a comparable though… his deal was 1.1M x 2. I’d like to get a reliable 4C with some size and jam for that price. yes indeed, I’d like that.

  25. Gordies Elbow says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Yep – I went with a slight overpay. If I were MacT, I’d tell him he’d get to play PP as well, and be a net front presence. Hall, Eberle, Perron, Yakupov banking pucks off of him might be the best thing for this stats.

    Right now, I’d look at him, Mueller, or Smithson. None of them will break the bank, all big, and all capable of 4th line play.

  26. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Gordies Elbow:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Yep– I went with a slight overpay. If I were MacT, I’d tell him he’d get to play PP as well, and be a net front presence. Hall, Eberle, Perron, Yakupov banking pucks off of him might be the best thing for this stats.

    Right now, I’d look at him, Mueller, or Smithson. None of them will break the bank, all big, and all capable of 4th line play.

    It’s not really that much of an overpay. 1.1 vs. 1.15 is marginal. I was just signalling what I think we should hold in mind as the ideal contract for a 4C… shortish term and cheap despite quality of player.

    BTW, Steckel, Mueller AND Smithson sound like a pretty good 4th line to me, with Smithson platooning with a Brown/Eager type for facepunching depending on Eakins’ taste for the night and Mueller moving between 3rd and 4th.

  27. Rebilled says:

    Randy Robitaille was 14th in the KHL in points last year. 5’11, 190pds

    He’s 37, 13 goals, 29 assists in 49 games. 56.4% for 917 face-offs.

    Tim Stapleton, 30 years old, 2 points less, 5’9jesus, 170jesus

    24 goals, 16 assists, 53.6% for 548 face-offs

    Jason Krog is 37, 6th is the SEL last year for points, 17g, 26a in 55 games, 5’11, 191pds

    or Lander

    grasping at cheap straws here…

  28. Rebilled says:

    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Raymond played 19 games, aren’t the rest centres?

  29. Bank Shot says:

    If MacT upgrades the team with another top 4 D, and a two way winger that can play center in a pinch then I don’t really care too much if Lander starts the season as the 4th line center.

    If Mact fails to upgrade these areas, then I want MacT to get a bonafide 4th line center to start the year. Too many unprovens already tentatively penciled into the lineup (Joensu, Larsen, Belov, Lander, Klefbom).

    I would personally like to see that list pared down to 2-3 max.

  30. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Rebilled,

    Thoresen?

  31. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Rebilled:
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    Raymond played 19 games, aren’t the rest centres?

    Raymond and Mueller are wingers IIRC.

  32. ashley says:

    I’m curious why Antropov hasn’t been signed. Big C with some offense, certainly a threat to score, middling corsi. He seems like a great option. I wonder if he is asking for 3 or more years. After Belanger, I can see why the Oilers might be shy about giving a bottom six player a long contract.

  33. Woodguy says:

    Its Lander’s time to sink or swim.

    Renney really hurt him by keeping him up to get pounded in his rookie year.

    Apparently he kept him up because of his “intangibles”

    He’s quite the leader and very well liked.

    I hope he makes it.

    4th line is exactly where he needs to try out, I just hope they don’t saddle him with Smyth and Facepuncher too much, we really won’t be able to tell if he’s helping.

  34. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Rebilled:
    Think they both can play both
    Romulus Apotheosis,

    http://panthers.nhl.com/club/player.htm?id=8473526

    http://canucksarmy.com/2013/3/1/which-forward-is-the-better-option-at-centre-alex-burrows-or-mason-raymond

    Always liked Thoresen, I’d take Stekel too.

    I remember once I was looking through the draft picks of the Oil and discovered Eberle, Hartikainen and Pitlick were all listed as Cs. None have played C since draft day.

    After that I decided to take an evidence based approach to Centres. Draws taken is a good way to gage if someone is a centre. Those two haven’t taken enough to be considered Centres…

    all of which isn’t to say either they couldn’t play the position, or that a coach wouldn’t put them there regardless (see Smyth)… but is to say that if you haven’t taken a C-worthy number of draws over the last 2 years… I’m not going to take a chance on you as a bonafide centre in the world’s best league.

    BUT… I love the idea of winger who has some familiarity with the position. If that is in their history (even in a minor way) I’d consider it a plus.

  35. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Woodguy: 4th line is exactly where he needs to try out, I just hope they don’t saddle him with Smyth and Facepuncher too much, we really won’t be able to tell if he’s helping.

    Remember when Lander finally went down and Zona discovered a weird thing in the stats in the very small sample size that showed maybe Petrell was solid and Lander was fucking things up…

    There was a lot of crazy hope going on that year… I remember eagerly wanting it to be true.

    In the end that whole fucking team stunk.

  36. Numenius says:

    Gordies Elbow:
    FastOil,

    Personally, I would take a long look at David Steckel as the 4C. 57.1% in the dot, 6’6″, 215lbs. 2 years, $2.3m, $1.15m cap hit?

    Good point. He’d likely be better than Smithson. His offence is about the same, but he has a higher compete level (as far as I can tell) and an ability to fight. Then Brown could play less.

  37. PerryK says:

    I like Wood Guy’s conspiracy theory the most! Sign Grabbo after you decide to either sign & trade or simply trade Samwise for a 1LD. Upgrade at 2 positions for less money!

    Lander at 4C is an unbaked cake! Not going to taste very good immediately. But I think most reasonable fans know this. If we decide to keep Samwise (Not the worst move in my opinion), then we still need to do something for a reasonable D and finding a home for poor Ales.

    I suggested in an earlier post that we could target Colorado as a trading partner for either Stastny (6.6MM 1 yr left) or O’Reilly (6.5 MM salary 5MM cap hit 1 year left) to find a home for Hemsky. Their RW depth is terrible and the contracts match. Clearly with Duchesne and McKinnon, one of these guys is redundant!

    Still Sammy for 1LD would be great.

  38. Hammers says:

    I have no problem with Lander / Jones / Smyth but that means we need 1) Keep Hemsky for 3rd and take one of the remaining UFA’s ,Penner or ?? .$1.5 mill to spend 2) Gomez on 4th with Lander & Smyth then Gordon , Jones and what you get for Hemsky on LW . Joensu & Brown extras . #3) Steckel instead of Gomez but for me the max they pay is the $ 1.5mill . I still think Hemmer is worth more at trade deadline.

  39. Ryan says:

    Ca$h-Money!:
    FastOil,

    He must be good.Everyone knows the Isles owe us one for Colin McDonald.

    That’s how it works, right?

    holy hanna, we could sure use a guy like Colin McDonald on the bottom 6. Where did the Islanders find a guy like that?

    :)

  40. Bushed says:

    Gerta Rauss,

    “We should be aiming higher-we should be past the days of “throw him in there and see how he does”. ”

    ^This works for me, for the most part. Still need a little room to experiment, audition, etc., but within reason.

    I like Lander’s D positional play, but at times he appears to lack the size/strength that would make him more effective (and speed seems about average?). Likeable guy, but I’m not sold that he’s ready yet. I’d like to see a player with speed, faceoff ability and meat, please.

    The team is far from a finished project, but I’m uneasy about what’s starting to feel like a slow slide into a “summer of compromise” (cue the Stones’ “You Can’t Always Git What You Want”…), Perron brings some interesting skills, but now the meat has to appear elsewhere in the lineup (I thought MacT wanted it in the top 6?). Samwise is a compromise of scoring, but without physical edge or effective D (also no meat factor here). If Grabo is signed, another compromise. Love both Ryans as people, but the compromises are too big to ignore. And so on.

    I’d really like to see the next couple of moves from MacT move us back towards his stated goals at the beginning of the summer, with less compromising.

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