Anton Lander was rushed to the NHL, and for most Oiler fans is a wild disappointment—the latest in many failed experiments from the draft list this century. I’m of a mind that the organization should be drawn and quartered for this kind of lunacy long before the prospects, and suspect you feel the same. It also true that the story isn’t over yet, there’s an enormously important chapter to be written. Call it ‘does he succeed with the Oilers?’ and know it’s here, and now. (Lander photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).
VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER (CORSI REL)
RE 13-14 OKC REVIEW
||ANTON LANDER OKC RE 13-14
||ANTON LANDER OKC ACTUAL 13-14
RE 13-14 REVIEW
||ANTON LANDER RE 13-14
||ANTON LANDER ACTUAL 13-14
RE 14-15 PREVIEW
||ANTON LANDER RE 14-15
ANTON LANDER 13-14
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.21 (16th among forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: nil
- Qual Comp: 13th toughest competition among regulars (fourth line)
- Qual Team: 9th best competition among regulars (third line)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 43.9
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: -.2
- Zone Start: 40% (6th toughest on the team among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: nil
- Boxcars: 27, 0-1-1
- So, this is it? Damn straight. 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.”
- Power play? Eakins is saying he needs to be versatile.
- Can he score on the power play? There’s not much evidence in the NHL. In the AHL: 43, 10-17-27 .627.
- Is that good? Roman Horak, who I felt would by vying for the same NHL job next season, went 53, 7-13-20 .377.
- So, excellent! Lander really made a step forward this past season, no doubt. You can see it in the OKC RE above, pre and post. He is now ready for a real NHL audition, and credit to MacT for bringing him back for another sortie.
- Where exactly is he with the organization right now? 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, Gordon and Arcobello fully ahead of him on points, and Leon Draisaitl will get a long look—9 games and likely more. The Lander contract may not have come without Horak’s jailbreak.
- Why can’t the Oilers identify the role players? They can and will, but there’s also a need to commit to a player for 45 games and see what he can do in a specific role. Signing Ryan Jones year after year, or even bringing in Joensuu a year ago, those were moves to buy time. NOW you let Lander loose, Pitlick loose. They don’t have Jones’ offense, but should be more effective players without the puck.
- And that’s what you’re projecting for Lander? Yes. And Pitlick.
- Is it enough? The good news is that Lander probably does have the defensive chops to survive in the NHL while delivering paltry offense. The bad news? I don’t know that the Oilers will value that aspect of his game to the point where they settle on him. He would do himself an enormous favor by scoring 10 goals this season.
- Did management give an indication beyond the Eakins verbal above about Lander? MacT: “Much like Chicago’s got where they have three lines of offensive guys and a fourth line that can play against anybody. That’s what we’d really like to do. We need (Anton) Lander to step up and (Mark) Arcobello, or add a free-agent forward or two who can compete for those jobs. Maybe somebody who could come in and be a good fit with Yak (Nail Yakupov on the third line). We have the first line (Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle). If we can draft a guy at centre who can play, then we’d have that guy, Perron and Sam or some form of that.”
- What does that mean? When you take both quotes, I think they see Lander as a utility forward, who will play the tough 4line minutes as required and then jump up into the top 9F as needed. Vague info gets you vague answers, but that seems about right.
- Is he Stu’s best second-round pick? No, that title probably goes to Marincin for the next while. Lander has a chance to be No. 2 though, with Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, David Musil, Mitch Moroz and Marco Roy encountering their own challenges.
- If Lander doesn’t stay with the big club, what happens then? I think Lander has enough talent to get a second NHL chance. If you’re Detroit or New Jersey, it would certainly be easy enough to create a scenario where it’s the team not the player. Lander has an old player’s talents anyway, so these early years weren’t going to be offensive monsters no matter the situation.
- Old player’s skills? Yes. A guy like Lander arrived defensively aware and with that kind of reputation. He was an effective two-way regular in the Swedish league at 19, and people talked about his leadership skills. In fact, the three Swedes of recent vintage who seemed to draw the most from the home crowd were Lander, Paajarvi and Klefbom. All three defense-first options. Funny, I’d never thought of it before. Probably Omark’s fault.
- Could he eventually be that 15 goal scorer you were talking about? Hope so. His AHL season a year ago compares well to Pisani’s.
- Really? Pisani didn’t arrive in the AHL until age 23, and his first AHL season saw him score about .5 points-per-game.
- So, there’s still hope? Sure. Edmonton may have a player here.
- Do you think he’ll be successful in the NHL? I think he might find a way.
- Do you think it will be in Edmonton? No idea.
- Nice. Well, I thought Hartikainen would be in the NHL last season, but Edmonton signed Joensuu in front of him.
- MacT didn’t do that to Lander this summer. Yes. True. The one good thing about the center position as it stands is the Oilers are really giving a chance to their youngsters.
- And my guess is that’s also a bad thing. Yes.
- Why this song? This is a very late song for Joni Mitchell, right at the end of her career. It’s really beautiful, her usual unique sound and her voice is mature and maybe truly warm for the first time. The lyric serves as prayer and blessing and wakeup call, and that’s a good song for Anton today.
- She took a shot at a few institutions. It’s Joni Mitchell.
- She didn’t mention the Oilers. She was just hitting the institutions that still matter.
- Time for Lander to shine? Whole damn franchise, really. Stop telling us you’re the smartest in the room. Not even your mothers believe you, and parents are tired of sending their kids here to catch the blame.
- Wow. All that in one song. Joni Mitchell’s a helluva sports writer.