November 22 2013 07:59PM
In his last 82 AHL games (entering tonight), Anton Lander is 82, 21-21-42—decent offense for a player with a reputation of being a solid checking center. The Oilers have changed General Managers since Lander was drafted, and that can impact prospects and their future with the team that drafted them. Is Lander part of the MacTavish/Eakins vision?
Since 2010, the Oklahoma City Barons have employed a few forwards with varying degrees of offensive ability and many more who could be described as 'two-way' or 'checking' types :
- Linus Omark 65, 30-35-65 (1 point per game)
- Toni Rajala 46, 17-28-45 (.98 points per game)
- Mark Arcobello 173, 50-83-133 (.77 points per game)
- Teemu Hartikainen 164, 45-66-111 (.68 points per game)
- Magnus Paajarvi 72, 11-34-45 (.63 points per game)
- Ryan Hamilton 427, 131-106-237 (.55 points per game)
- Phil Cornet 173, 46-48-94 (.54 points per game)
- Roman Horak 79, 19-20-39 (.49 points per game)
- Anton Lander 75, 17-20-37 (.49 points per game)
- Chris VandeVelde 207, 31-36-67 (.32 points per game)
- Ryan Martindale 61, 7-12-19 (.31 points per game)
- Tyler Pitlick 113, 11-25-36 (.32 points per game)
- Antti Tyrvainen 87, 9-15-24 (.28 points per game)
- Tanner House 129, 16-18-34 (.26 points per game)
- Will Acton 124, 15-20-35 (.25 points per game)
- Curtis Hamilton 104, 10-10-20 (.192 points per game)
Now, for our purposes, Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander are rarely going to be applying for the same jobs. This is similar to the Oilers discussions we used to have about Rob Schremp and Marc Pouliot—Schremp was going to make the NHL as a 'Mike Comrie-type' and Pouliot was going to make it as a 'Guy Carbonneau-type' and although neither did make it they could never have been mistaken for each other.
Anton Lander's competition is Will Acton today and Roman Horak tomorrow. (Acton's numbers included above, although he was never a Baron).
THE ROMAN EMPIRE?
Roman Horak doesn't have the draft pedigree of Anton Lander (Horak was a 5th rounder, Lander 40th overall) but the change in GM's has a strange impact on things: Horak was acquired by new man Craig MacTavish, Lander was drafted by the previous regime in Edmonton.
It makes a difference. Although the two players are very similar and boast skills that will make them candidates for the same job (Will Acton's), Lander's advantage (if he had one) as a team draft has been reduced greatly.
WHAT CAN LANDER DO?
Actually, he's doing it as we speak. Lander scored 2 goals last night and he has 2 more tonight, giving him a season total with OKC of 14, 7-5-12. Lander's advantage over Acton is offense, as is Horak's, and both players are very likely better NHL bets than Acton. The question: how much does the organization value them?
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The boxcars suggest both Anton Lander and Roman Horak are better long term options for 4line center than Will Acton, but that doesn't mean a thing until opportunity knocks. When it does, it's anyone guess as to which player gets the call. In a strange twist of fate, the current management is probably more attached to Horak than Lander.
Those NHL games Lander played (and which he was unready for) may have cost him his best chance at an NHL career.
(All photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)