Anton Lander represents the latest in a long line of mishandled prospects–the Oilers were patient in year one after draft, patient in year two, and ALL they had to do was park Lander’s butt in Oklahoma for year three. It was not to be. If there’s a way to crash the prospect, the Oilers find it. It’s amazing.
RE 13-14: 50, 4-8-12
- I can’t remember, do you hate him? No, like him. Or at least the idea of him, as a Doug Jarvis type player. A shutdown center whose defensive skills were so absolute and obvious as a teenager he overcame the fact that he could not score goals to become something special.
- Is there still time? Yes, absolutely. Lander just needs to find the range, and there were some nice signs at the minor league level this season. At the beginning of the year with the Barons, he was playing a reduced role with Nuge, Arco and others in the picture (27, 2-4-6 .222 through December’s end). January through April, the clouds went away and he had some nice things going in the AHL (20, 7-7-14 .700) and then he took off (8, 5-3-8 1.00) in the post-season.
- Anything else? OKC 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). For Lander, that’s an outstanding result.
- Any signs of life at the major league level? Well, he’s a blue bubble in the sheltered part of the Vollman Sledgehammer, which is better than being in the red.
- What about PK? His one assist came 4×5 and his CorsiRel PK was also a blue bubble–second year in a row. So there’s some promise here in the exact area we were told he’d do well.
- Anything in the WOWY? He was above 50% with Paajarvi, Petrell, Hartikainen (they’re all gone) and Yak city. He was also above 50% with Paajarvi in his rookie season. All of these are extremely small sample sizes, and we shouldn’t read too much into them. Early days. He really found his range in North America this season with the Nordics–Harski, Paajarvi, Rajala–and of course they’re mostly gone now. Maybe he can find some chem with Rajala in pre-season or Joensuu during the year, or both at some point.
- Are there any more good arrows? MacT didn’t flush him and appears to have given him a pretty nice chance here. A team that sent away most of their PK guys this summer is probably going to look at Lander’s PK ability as an extreme positive. His 1:45 put him 6th on the team last year among forwards, and the Oilers vaporized 4 of the guys in front of him.
- Faceoffs? Up to 49.1%, but in only 55 sorties. Still, it’s a nice step forward from his 43.3% as a rookie.
- So, it’s the offense? Yeah, he can’t piss a drop.
- Has he ever played with good veteran players? No, but that’s not likely to change this season.
- What if they gave him Boyd Gordon? What?
- What if they tried him on LW with Gordon? I think he’s a better center than most of the guys Eakins would be slotting in at #4C. He’s inexperienced, but can play the position.
- So, good center but hopeless offensively. Well, he had one good season in the SEL at 19 and showed some signs in the spring run for the Barons. Maybe they’ll give him a look-see with skilled guys this pre-season, see if he can cash.
- Seriously? New coach, you never know.
- You’re not planning for it based on the RE. No, you’re correct.
- Why this song? Like Gordon’s selection, this is more a reflection of the organization. I am certainly on record as being a fan of the scouting department, but do believe the club shoots itself in the foot many times in the development of these players. As a fan, when I hear Bowie sing “as I pushed my foot down to the floor I was going round and round the hotel garage, Must have been touching close to 94 Oh, but I’m always crashing in the same car” I think of the Oilers handling of all these kids over the years. Even the ones who make it–Brodziak, Chimera–they send away. And you know what? Those role players–Brodziak, Chimera–are EXACTLY the kinds of players the American Hockey League develops and EXACTLY the kinds of players the Oilers need right now. Bloody hell, man: connect the dots! If you’ve been doing the same thing forever and it isn’t getting results, perhaps trying going opposite George? Just a thought.
- MacT will fix this? That’s something I’m counting on.
- You know, you could make the case they just did the same thing with Paajarvi. Sending him away at the exact time he was ready to step up? You bet, except he’s been contributing for some time now. And of course they didn’t trade him for draft picks in the 3rd round.
- Does Lander make it as an NHL player? He’s a unique enough skill set, I expect he’ll grow into a Gordon-calibre defensive center as the miles roll along. These guys have to fly many sorties, just like the defensemen.
LANDER 2011-12 VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER
LANDER 2012-13 VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER
There’s Lander and his little blue balloon (balloon?) in the sheltered area with the good zone starts. I think that’s a reflection of how coach Krueger felt about him a year ago, we’ll see if he can build on his AHL results and find a way to be productive on the 4line this coming season.
(photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).