WHAT ABOUT LANDER?

Jason Gregor
December 21 2011 12:38PM

The Oilers drafted Anton Lander 40th overall in 2009, and he spent the next two season playing for Timra in the SEL before making his NHL debut this past October. Lander has played 29 games and during the 10:43 TOI/game he's tallied one goal (shorthanded) and three points, is -2 and is 40.9% in the dot.

Not bad numbers, but if the Oilers are serious about the future they need to make a decision quickly regarding what is best for his development.

Yesterday I wrote  how excited Magnus Paajarvi was to be playing lots of minutes in the AHL, and he realized the imporantace of developing his game, and I feel the Oilers have two easy choices to make regarding Lander.

Move him up to the 3rd line and play him 13-15 minutes a game or send him to OKC where he can play even more minutes, and replace him with Ryan O'Marra.

If the Oilers are serious about developing and winning, then wouldn't Lander in OKC and O'Marra up here make sense? Look at Lander's numbers; is he making that much of an impact on the outcome of most games? It's not a knock on him, but he's a 4th line guy right now, and I doubt very few 4th line centres change the outcome of many games.

In three games this year O'Marra tallied one assist was an even player (+/-) and was 71.4% in the dot. I know he wouldn't be that dominant over 29 games in the dot, but he can kill penalties and win some draws, while Lander plays 17-18 minutes a night in the AHL.

I understand that they want to have kids: Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins playing meaningful and intense games down the stretch, but they have to look at the big picture as well. Many believe Lander will be a solid 3rd liner in the future, and maybe even a low-end 2nd line centre, and if that is the case then he needs to be playing in all situations in the AHL.

He hasn't been able to work on his offensive game at all this year in his role. He's been pretty decent as a checker, but if they want him to be a two-way player then he has to play in some offensive situations, and right now that will only happen in OKC.

WHAT ABOUT THE 3RD LINE?

The other option would be to move him to the 3rd line in place of the struggling Eric Belanger. I've talked about this for weeks, and today at practice the Oilers had Lander on the third line with Sam Gagner and Ryan Jones. If the Oilers are committed to playing him there for an extended period then that's the only reason he should still be here.

I'm stunned at how many people feel that developing your game and earning your keep in the AHL is somehow a major a slap in the face to young players. Numerous players spent a year, two or even three before becoming a regular in the best league in the world.

At times I sense the Oilers even feel a bit of trepidation about sending young players who are on cusp of making the team down to the minors. I don't understand why Lander wasn't there from the start of the year. Sure, he played okay, but would he be that much better than O'Marra. Maybe O'Marra is the big, strong 4th line centre who can win draws this team will need moving forward?

He might not be, but considering how high they are on Lander, then why didn't they look at the big picture and have him develop in OKC? Too often this organization sends mixed messages. They want to win to gain experience for their young players, and also to reward their incredibly loyal fans, but has Lander really helped in achieving the former?

If Tom Renney is going to use him in a 3rd line role for an extended period of time moving forward, then I can understand why they keep him here, but if it is only a short stint, they should make the right long-term decision and exchange Lander with O'Marra and see what they have in both players.

It is easy to keep top-end players like RNH, Hall and Eberle in the NHL, and they be the key pieces moving forward, but the development of their complimentary and role players is vital if they plan on being a consistent contending team.

DAY 14

It seems music and tattoos go hand-in-hand and for day 14 of "Helping Others" we've come up an awesome 
Rock N' Roll package.

Today up for auction for the Christmas Bureau will be:

  • $2,500 in tattoo work at Atomic Zombie. The GCs are in $100 denominations so you can use them between friends or family. AZ has been voted the top Tattoo place in Edmonton for the 2nd straight year in See Magazine.
     
  • $1,000 gift card at Long and McQuade. An incredible music store.
     
  • And an awesome 2 days (16 hours) of studio recording time at The AUDIO Department including an Engineer and an assistant. And you can use any of their equipment. Unreal.

A huge thank you to Kerry at the Audio Department for the studio and for generously donating the gift card and some of the GCs at Atomic Zombie.

To bid you can call 780.426.8326 or email gregor@theteam1260.com. Bidding starts at 2 p.m and ends at 5:45 MST with 100% of the money going to the Christmas Bureau.

Over 60,000 people need help from the Christmas Bureau so if you can't bid on this package, but you want help you can donate here or you can make a quick donation on your phone. Just text: "Christmas" to 45678  for a $10 donation or "Hamper" to 45678 for $5.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#51 OilFan
December 22 2011, 11:52AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Most overated prospect I've seen in a long time, though it was entertaining watching the hype morph from good bottom 6/PK/FO prospect to a guy that was supposed to outscore Horcoff.

I think he's still got a decent shot at being a solid 3C, but the Oiler fan overhype/overate prospect machine was in full force with this guy.

This is about Gagner right ? Lander is going to play center and Sam will be a winger on the 3rd line below Lander in the Oilers depth chart

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#52 Quicksilver ballet
December 22 2011, 12:23PM
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Gazmort wrote:

I can never figure out if you're saying things like this tongue-in-cheek, or if you actually mean it.

But that is a horrible point you've attempted to make. As a quick rebuttal, about 2/3 of the Detroit Redwings are non-North American. That's just one of the top teams in the league. Thanks for coming out.

Detroit may be the exception to this rule. Recent SCW have maybe had only one or two Euros on their squads. Look at recent winners such as the Bruins, was it just Krejchi? Anaheim, just Selanne? Pittsburgh, Malkin only?

There's much an arguement to be made in regards to this Euro content. I was just thinking out loud, not sure if it warrants further examination. I think you could win easily without any Euros in your lineup.

With Hemsky on his way out and Paajarvi being a disappointment to date. I think the Oilers would be just fine without some of these overated Euros.

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#53 Cowbell_Feva
December 22 2011, 12:31PM
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DSF wrote:

The problem with creating an all Swede line is that Detroit and Vancouver already have all the good ones.

Sad.

Speaking of those two teams.. watching that game last night just about made me puke. Just when I thought I couldn't hate the Canucks anymore, they surprise me yet again. Kesler must figure he can run around, interfere with players, and beak from the bench without any penalties or repercussions. Gets absolutely crushed and then he goes and sticks out his knee on Zetterberg. Sedin does the same late in the game. Classy. Jannik Hansen then runs through the goalie (yes, I know Zetterbergs jersey grazed him and down he went) and to top it off he throws an elbow at the greatest defensemen of this generation, who had nothing to do with any part of the play. Too bad Howard didn't catch him flush with a blocker and broke his orbital bone. I can't wait for the Canucks to lose in the 1st round of the playoffs, because already the parade route is being planning before Xmas.

And yes, I realize I am way off topic, just had to vent some anger.

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#54 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 22 2011, 01:06PM
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OilFan wrote:

This is about Gagner right ? Lander is going to play center and Sam will be a winger on the 3rd line below Lander in the Oilers depth chart

~Right right, Lander has certainly out played Gagner.~

C and W are different posisitons, one is not ahead of the other.

3C isn't by default above on the depth chart compared to 3W.

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#55 Romulus' Apotheosis
December 22 2011, 03:01PM
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I'm curious to see how much offence we can get from lander down in the A. The reports lead to more of a two-way Peca type... Peca had 60 points one year... but was mostly in the 40 point range... if Lander can have the career Peca had I'd be ecstatic!

But I think we should curb our offensive expectations.

@Moneypuck

The general knock on Euro players is played out. For every "lazy" "glory-hog" "flash-in-the-pan" Euro that gets dissed for being "soft" etc... there's a Penner, an Isbister, a JFJ, a Comrie... etc.etc... I think we have a tendency to forget about the BS Northamerican players when this topic comes up and I think that is more a result of the relative minority of euro players in the NHL than any continental attributes.

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#56 OilFan
December 22 2011, 03:21PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

~Right right, Lander has certainly out played Gagner.~

C and W are different posisitons, one is not ahead of the other.

3C isn't by default above on the depth chart compared to 3W.

If Gagner a center plays on Landers wing who do you think the Oilers plan on being around in the future ?

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#57 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 22 2011, 03:59PM
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OilFan wrote:

If Gagner a center plays on Landers wing who do you think the Oilers plan on being around in the future ?

I think you are pretending this is a much bigger deal then it actually is.

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#58 FastOil
December 22 2011, 08:56PM
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Steele wrote:

Has anyone noticed that Lander has dropped about 15 - 20 LBS since training camp? His face is thinner than in camp and I am wondering if the rigors of the NHL are too much for his young frame right now.

Someone should tweet the Swedes that you can get Swedish meatballs and lingonberry sauce or whatever at Ikea. They could hang there in the caf and pig out, feel at home;)

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#59 Oilerbill
December 22 2011, 11:24PM
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OilFan wrote:

If Gagner a center plays on Landers wing who do you think the Oilers plan on being around in the future ?

Don't bother. You're arguing with someone who thinks Belanger is the second best center on this team and Gagner should be the top left winger.

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#60 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2011, 08:05AM
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Oilerbill wrote:

Don't bother. You're arguing with someone who thinks Belanger is the second best center on this team and Gagner should be the top left winger.

Funny stuff Bill, I think Belanger is the third best center on the team and a top nine forward, I also think Gagner is as good, if not better on the wing.

Good try though.

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#61 Oilerbill
December 23 2011, 12:14PM
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He also thinks he's a Jedi master.

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#62 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
December 23 2011, 01:26PM
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Oilerbill wrote:

He also thinks he's a Jedi master.

Don't worry bill, it doesn't take a Jedi master to see that Belanger is a quality 3rd liner and that Gagner is good on the wing.

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#63 Oilerbill
December 24 2011, 01:05AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Don't worry bill, it doesn't take a Jedi master to see that Belanger is a quality 3rd liner and that Gagner is good on the wing.

No just someone who thinks he is.

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