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)