BIG OPPORTUNITY

The Edmonton Oilers have signed center Anton Lander to a one-year, one-way, contract for $600,000. This represents a haircut from his entry-level deal ($880,000) but the one-way portion is a nice get for player and agent. I wonder about Roman Horak’s role in today’s transaction, there was a rumor that he was headed to the KHL and this might be the Oilers making sure they have enough depth for 2014-15. It’s not clear that this is a guaranteed roster spot, only that he will be paid in full no matter where he plays this coming season.

For Dallas Eakins, I believe he sees Lander’s role thusly:

  • Eakins:“If (Lander) is going to play here, he has to be able to play centre, he has to play left-wing and he has to play right-wing. He has to be able to step in on the power play and kill penalties. He has to be able to wear a bunch of different hats.”

I look at Lander’s current position as being extremely similar to Theo Peckham’s the summer he signed for 2011-12: There’s a giant opportunity here, but nothing has been decided at this time. If Lander comes in and plays well, he might end up having an NHL career after all. He needs to score, and he may not be at center come the fall. I count Nuge, Gagner, Gordon and Arcobello fully ahead of him on points, and this contract may not have come without Horak’s jailbreak.

Stu MacGregor’s 2009 draft is pretty much in the books. That’s why waiting five years is the best plan, because it gives us a nice sample size. Lander (and Paajarvi) have established themselves as solid forwards without the puck but nothing special with it.

As much as two-way forwards have high value in the world’s best league, you have to score from time to time. This is Anton Lander’s challenge. Today’s contract is a giant opportunity.

(Lander photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

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30 Responses to "BIG OPPORTUNITY"

  1. Lowetide says:

    Heh. Well, that kind of confirms it, no? We’ll never know if they would have signed both, but it looks like one or the other.

  2. sumaclab says:

    One ay at 60000 is a good deal.e ate up how much last season in salary in OKC on players like Grebby,Eager and so forth. That is not going to happen again I guarantee you. Pissing away that kind of cash on has beens was wasteful and stupid.

    Lander cashed in. Less than before but probably more than he would have got back home in Sweden.

    Lander needs to play for the 3rd line center role. He is not going to move Gagner or RNH.

    Horak. Smart move. Know yourself. He saw the writing on the wall. Time to move on and make a living.

  3. gcw_rocks says:

    And the oiler tradition of turning actual NHL players into nothing continues to roll along.

  4. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Heh. Well, that kind of confirms it, no? We’ll never know if they would have signed both, but it looks like one or the other.

    That’s certainly one way to look at it.

    I would probably try to sign both and to get Horak on a 2-way if possible.

    no word yet on if Horak’s rights were retained.

  5. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    sumaclab: One ay at 60000 is a good deal.e ate up how much last season in salary in OKC on players like Grebby,Eager and so forth. That is not going to happen again I guarantee you. Pissing away that kind of cash on has beens was wasteful and stupid.

    the cash is irrelevant IMO.

    Deals like Eager (Tambo) and Acton/Hamilton (MacT) are problematic because of their term and the space on the 50 man roster.

    we aren’t tight enough against the cap to worry over Katz’ pennies.

  6. Racki says:

    Not really too high on Lander, myself, but it is better than losing him for nothing. Also he’s young enough that anything can happen. He could pan out to be the player we hope he will. Haven’t really seen signs of that in the NHL yet but as I said.. Still young.

    Would like to see a better 4th line option while Lander figures out if he wants an NHL career or not though.

  7. Lowetide says:

    The other thing of course is the Oilers keep bringing back all of their fourth liners. One hopes we’ll see some new and productive blood in this area.

  8. Doomoil says:

    Gregor might be the poorest evaluator of talent I have ever heard.

    Dumba is the most dynamic player in the series according to him. People compare him to Subban (no one compares him to Subban) rightfully and if he were just as big as Subban he could be just as good. I listen to him and just shake my head.

    Dumba might be the poorest defenseman I have ever watched. If you got grades for odd man rushes against, he’d get an A+ every night. Brings absolutely nothing, but on the 1/20 times he actually lays the hit he’s charged up the ice abandoning his position for, Gregor is instantly erect.

  9. Ducey says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: That’s certainly one way to look at it.I would probably try to sign both and to get Horak on a 2-way if possible.no word yet on if Horak’s rights were retained.

    Wouldn’t the Oilers have until July to make a qualifying offer ?

    If so, its not so bad that Horak plays in the KHL. He can develop there and maybe come back in a few years.

    I am trying to imagine how the Oilers would keep Arco and Lander on the team and still be, you know, good.

    I can’t see Lander – Arco (Center) – Joesuu/ Gazdic as a 4th line scaring anyone .

    Maybe Lander – Gordon – Hendricks as shutdown/ defensive zone draw line? Three centers. All can PK.

    They will definitely need to add two very good players to play with Arco as Gazdic and Joesuu are not going to cut it if they want to have something resembling 4 lines.

  10. Bank Shot says:

    Ducey: Wouldn’t the Oilers have until July to make a qualifying offer ?

    If so, its not so bad that Horak plays in the KHL.He can develop there and maybe come back in a few years.

    I am trying to imagine how the Oilers would keep Arco and Lander on the team and still be, you know, good.

    I can’t see Lander – Arco (Center) – Joesuu/ Gazdic as a 4th line scaring anyone .

    Maybe Lander – Gordon – Hendricks as shutdown/ defensive zone draw line?Three centers.All can PK.

    They will definitely need to add two very good players to play with Arco as Gazdic and Joesuu are not going to cut it if they want to have something resembling 4 lines.

    I’m afraid of what dreck they will be rolling out on the third line. If its Lander-Gordon-Hendricks I may puke.

  11. Racki says:

    MacT probably has to purchase a 3rd line come July.. Should be on the shopping list.

  12. Jordan says:

    Racki:
    MacT probably has to purchase a 3rd line come July.. Should be on the shopping list.

    Bank Shot,

    If you ran Arco-Hendriks-Lander as your fourth, that’s a line that could out-play the opposition, no?

    RNH-Hall-Ebs
    Gordon-Perron-Yakupov
    XXX-XXX-XXX
    Arco-Hendriks-Lander
    Gazdic

    Pick up Grabo-Winnik-Kulemin to fill out that 3rd, and all of a sudden that might be a hockey team. Help Gagner find a nice soft landing and try to get something for him at the draft.

  13. Bag of Pucks says:

    Definitely getting harder to rationalize that Smid trade with Horak bolting to the K now.

    At some point the Oilers are going to finally realize, they need to avoid any and all things where Brian Burke has influence.

  14. Bank Shot says:

    Jordan: Bank Shot,

    If you ran Arco-Hendriks-Lander as your fourth, that’s a line that could out-play the opposition, no?

    RNH-Hall-Ebs
    Gordon-Perron-Yakupov
    XXX-XXX-XXX
    Arco-Hendriks-Lander
    Gazdic

    Pick up Grabo-Winnik-Kulemin to fill out that 3rd, and all of a sudden that might be a hockey team.Help Gagner find a nice soft landing and try to get something for him at the draft.

    I dunno. I kept waiting for MacT to go to the store and pick up a good two way winger for the third line last season and he came back with Jones, Joensuu, and Hamilton.

  15. RexLibris says:

    This sounds like a “fish or cut bait” contract for Lander. If he doesn’t work out then Horak may be the fallback position for next season, depending on the length of his KHL contract.

    This time next year we may be talking about Lander going to Europe and Horak coming back to NA.

  16. OilClog says:

    Did I just see someone suggest replacing Gags with Gordon on the 2nd line.. Middle of May is officially the start of crazy time.

    Horak leaving affects nothing, he’s not what we need in the bottom 6, nor is he top 6 ability,

    I wouldn’t be suprised if MacT lands 4-5 forwards to compete in the bottom 6.
    He seems to do the exact opposite of Tambi.. Mostly.

    Spezza Hall Yak
    Nuge Perron Ebs
    Grabbo Kulemin Arco
    Gordon Hendricks Lander
    Gazdic

  17. nycoil says:

    Pleasantly surprised Lander was retained. I still believe there is a player there. Would love to have him spend the year on Gordon’s wing watching and learning from him. I still think he could develop into a defensively responsible 15-20-35 guy and play PK and tough minutes down the road. He isn’t “gritty” or “truculent” by traditional measures (MOAR HITS), but he has a bit of an edge to his game. If he can just somehow translate that offense to the Show he’s got a solid future. I know that’s the toughest part, but I still think there’s hope for him.

    As for the “getting harder to justify the Smid trade,” I think that ship has sailed a while ago. MacT’s worst player personnel move so far. Let’s hope he has learned from the rookie mistake and is moving on. I mean, the one positive people cite is the development of Marincin, but that move was made before anyone even had a clue MM could handle playing in the Show. They totally lucked out on that. Oilers need to stop the habit of moving out useful players to create room for rookies before they’re ready (That Brodziak guy ring a bell?).

  18. Jasmine says:

    Ladi played himself off the team by criticizing the organization and never blaming himself. Smid blamed the goalies when they lost. Most teams trade players that criticize the organization.

    Brodziak was traded by that moron Tambellini. Stop giving Tambellini a free ride.

  19. "Steve Smith" says:

    Jasmine: Stop giving Tambellini a free ride.

    And stop denigrating statistics in favour of seeing players good! And stop shitting all over Ales Hemsky and Marc Pouliot! And stop writing all of those sterile, emotionless posts!

    I hate this blog.

  20. Genjutsu says:

    “Steve Smith”: And stop denigrating statistics in favour of seeing players good!And stop shitting all over Ales Hemsky and Marc Pouliot!And stop writing all of those sterile, emotionless posts!

    I hate this blog.

    And stop being funny!

  21. Big Dan says:

    I don’t think Lander’s signing has anything to do with Horak’s defection. Pure coincidence as to the timing. The Oilers retain Horak’s rights whenever he decides to return (just like Nashville with Radulov). This isn’t like Rajala where they mutually decided to part ways.

    It may be a blessing in disguise for Horak to go to the KHL for a year. Offensively, he found his touch this year in Oklahoma. Defensively, he’s matured. I think maturity-wise that he is ready for the NHL. But physically, he needs to add another 20 lb.

    Maybe Joensuu will join Horak in the KHL because I can’t see him staying. MacT will add a few guys and try to send Joensuu to the minors after camp. He’ll clear and refuse to report, fly away, never to be seen again. Oilers won’t use a roster spot to retain him but Horak – definitely.

    Back to Lander’s contract, this is not exactly a ringing endorsement. One year and minimum wage. MacT wants him to come to camp hungry. This is more a “last chance with us” offer that he accepted. My bet is on Lander to become a physical, irritating, useful 4th line presence. He may pot close to 20 points if Arcobello flanks him and Gazdic only plays sporadically.

    It is ironic that right now, the Oilers have a dearth of quality D in the NHL but a flood of Marincin’s and Klefbom’s will arrive in a couple years.

    At that time, we will have a dearth of 2nd/3rd line scoring forwards. All of our F prospects are like Lander, Horak, Khaira, Moroz, and Chase= all topping out as 4th liners (maybe 3rd). I hope MacT has the foresight to use free agency to find some Jokinen’s and Kulemin’s to overcome the poor drafting after the first round.

  22. hoser313 says:

    Good signing. Hopefully we see him play CENTER or if he must play wing, then wing on the Gordon-Hendricks line.

    What I really also like about this signing is that it looks good for the troops in OKC. I.e. if your team thinks highly enough of you to name you captain and MVP, you will earn a contract.

    Also, as a reminder to everyone in favour of the overpays for 2C, mystical power forward and 1LD, we also need cheap, decent players for the bottom 6. Here’s one of those.

  23. VanOil says:

    A Lander-Joensuu-Hendricks 4th line would not suck as bad as many of the 4th lines for the last few years. The trick is keeping Gadzook in the press box.

    Draisaitl (or your pick of choice) playing with Gordon and Arco on a third line would be a safe place with some offensive talent for the rookie. A safer place is back in Jr but that seems unlikely for a #3 pick on a piss poor team.

    Good on Mr. Lander getting his one way deal.

  24. One-Timer says:

    That might just be the ugliest jacket Cherry has ever donned. Which is saying a helluva lot.

  25. Rebilled says:

    Lowetide,

    ‘The other thing of course is the Oilers keep bringing back all of their fourth liners. One hopes we’ll see some new and productive blood in this area.’

    I can handle Hendricks on the 4th line.

    Lander AND Gazdic….not sure.

    I can’t see Lander playing on any of these playoffs teams.

  26. jayzz says:

    Lander needs to develop a mean streak or score a few more points before I consider him a full time NHL’r. That cap space might have been better used in the free agent market. He hasn’t shown enough for more than a two way, this organization needs to stop overvaluing players and caving in. A spade is a spade he is a career AHL’r possibly a good fit in the Khl. I’m highly suspect of taking players in the draft from across the Atlantic when their not out of this world good.

  27. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    there was some narrow and interesting disagreement about lander on twitter today. I dug around a bit and wrote about it:

    http://www.theoilersrig.com/2014/05/idle-moments/

  28. russ99 says:

    Good for Lander getting a one way contract.

    But now MacT has to hedge that bet (also Arcobello too) and bring in some experienced competition for bottom six spots.

    Kind of glad Horak bolted too, space for one more veteran player on the roster.

  29. Bank Shot says:

    Speaking of big opportunities. There are a bunch of cheap flight options RIGHT now from Edmonton to select cities in Asia. Hong Kong. Tokyo. Seoul. Check out Google flights.

    I just scooped a couple of round trip tickets for $470 to South Korea.

    PS. Kevin Lowe sucks.

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