Anton Lander and Oscar Klefbom recalled

Jonathan Willis
March 08 2014 10:03AM

51-Lander-1

Well, that was fast. On Saturday, the Edmonton Oilers recalled Oscar Klefbom and Anton Lander from the Oklahoma City Barons.

The emergency recall requires the Oilers to be below a roster of 12 healthy forwards (in the case of Lander) and six healthy defencemen (in the case of Klefbom). That's not a hard bar for the Oilers to reach, as they had only 12 healthy forwards and six healthy defenceman post-deadline. Article 13.12 (m)(ii) of the CBA allows the league to ask for proof of emergency circumstances if there's any suspicion otherwise.

As for the recalls, both of these players are guys that the Oilers have great interest in seeing at the NHL level.

Lander is a player who hasn't been overly impressive in a depth role in the NHL but who has really taken a stride forward in the AHL this year. He's scoring at better than a point-per-game pace and appears to have evolved into an elite two-way pivot, at least at the minor league level. 

There's a belief within the organization that Lander may be a significantly better player than he's shown to date in the majors, and given that he's in his final year of waiver exemption the organization needs to determine whether that is in fact the case. It wouldn't be a surprise, therefore, if he were to play above the fourth line during this major-league stint. 

Klefbom

Oscar Klefbom

As for Klefbom, there are a lot of parallels with Martin Marincin. Klefbom, like Marincin, has a big frame and exceptional skating, but if anything he's perhaps a little faster than Marincin and he certainly plays a heavier game (while Marincin is tall but rail-thin, Klefbom is playing at north of 215 pounds this year). The flip side is that Klefbom's had a steep North American learning curve this year, and while he's made major progress his reads still need some work. 

But some of the same things could have been said about Marincin, and his physical talents have made him arguably Edmonton's best defenceman since his recall. The hope, obviously, is that Klefbom can make the same jump and that his raw talent will make up for any deficiencies owing to inexperience. 

That Klefbom, and not Taylor Fedun, was the recall choice likely suggests an organizational view that Fedun isn't likely to evolve into an everyday NHL player, whereas Klefbom's ceiling is significantly higher. Testing Klefbom now gives them an idea of his readiness for next season and will certainly inform where he slots into the depth chart next fall. 

Importance

Craig MacTavish9

These are extremely important recalls, and the ramifications are likely to be greater than they would be normally. The Oilers are done this season, and the decision to recall Lander and Klefbom over Arcobello and Fedun is almost certainly related to a desire to establish where the former players fit into next year's plans. 

Edmonton already knows what Arcobello is, and fairly or not seem to have made up their collective mind on Fedun, too (multiple people within the organization have told me that Fedun is likely to top out as the 'tweener he is right now). 

That isn't true for Lander, whose AHL performance has dictated another look. The door is open right now for a long-term NHL role with the Oilers; it's now up to the coaching staff to put him in a position to succeed and to Lander to take advantage of the opportunity. Lander's waiver eligibility next season means that the window between now and the end of the year might be his last, best chance to grab an NHL job.

Klefbom isn't under the same level of pressure, because there's lots more road ahead of him, but competition for the rookie jobs on the Oilers' blue line is fierce. Even with a relatively weak defence corps, there is only so much room for young players, and with Marincin reasonably established and others like Darnell Nurse and perhaps even Aaron Ekblad entering the picture, the time for Klefbom to impress is now. He can help his chances of making the jump next season much easier with a strong showing here. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

74b7cedc5d8bfbe88cf071309e98d2c3
Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Gk1980
March 08 2014, 10:07AM
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Good, last chance for lander, hopefully klefbom is the real deal.

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#2 Retsinnab5
March 08 2014, 10:09AM
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Eakins needs to give Lander a shot at 2C

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#3 Czar
March 08 2014, 10:11AM
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Hope it's not the last chance for Lander. With our depth at center how can MacT not sign him? Give the kid a real shot, what more does he have to prove in the AHL?

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#4 Naky
March 08 2014, 10:23AM
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What the hell, this isn't Lander's last chance. Anyone who thinks that is on crack. The fourth line center spot is his to lose next season.

This is the kind of move you make when you want to take really productive, effective, and hard working players in the AHL up to the big club that doesn't feel like doing any of those things and hoping they can help lead the charge. It rewards them with a couple NHL pay cheques and it gives them recent memories and drive to work hard in the off-season knowing what to look forward to next year if they can force the team to keep them with their superior play.

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#6 Gk1980
March 08 2014, 10:28AM
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Is arco and lander gonna swap spots for the remainder if the year? How long will klefbom be up for? Who is the next logical defence men to bring up?

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#7 HardBoiledOil
March 08 2014, 10:35AM
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Gk1980 wrote:

Good, last chance for lander, hopefully klefbom is the real deal.

i agree that this is likely the last chance for Lander. if he is given a spot on the top scoring lines and doesn't produce, i could easily see him being traded at the draft. i think this does indeed mean the end for Fedun and possibly Arco as well.

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#9 Czar
March 08 2014, 10:40AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I seem to recall people making similar comments about Teemu Hartikainen last spring. The organization decided then and there what his role in the future was going to be; ultimately they let him go to Russia and then traded him to Toronto for almost nothing.

I think Anton is a leader and someone the coaches rely on, has bought in to the system and knows his role. I recall reports of Temmu having to be motivated and struggled to fill the role expected of him in OKC.

I'll be alot more upset to see Lander go than I was Temmu. Even just going by draft ranking and team need,it makes more sense to have Lander resign and be given a legitimate shot next year.

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#10 Naky
March 08 2014, 10:51AM
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Willis, those people weren't wrong. Hartikainen probably did have a spot on the fourth line that was his to lose. He just wanted more money than he hadn't proved to be worth and rather than cater to a greedy guy with a poor attitude and work ethic, they brought in what they thought was a suitable replacement Finn in JJ.

Hey look, if Lander wants to pull a Hartikainen then I'm sure the organization can and will replace him too. I think, however, that Lander's personality is nothing like Hartikainen's and that he's willing to do what it takes to prove himself and not just chase the dollar around. We've seen what chasing the money does for young players who haven't proved themselves at the NHL level. Ask Omark how that worked out for him as an NHL player long term.

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#11 dougtheslug
March 08 2014, 11:01AM
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OK, maybe I'm one of those Oiler fans that overvalues players on the roster but, it seems to me Arcobellos numbers in the AHL are pretty hard to ignore, even with the small sample size.

OK, there aren't many Martin St. Louis' in the world but I can't help comparing their numbers and development histories and seeing eery parallels. And the AHL in which Arco is putting up crazy numbers is way better than the AHL of the 1990's when St.Louis was playing there. And St. Louis never put up those kinds of numbers. (OK, small sample size for Arco this year, but still...)

JW, tell me I'm crazy to think this way and I'll shut up.

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#14 camdog
March 08 2014, 11:05AM
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I thought Hartki and Rajula jumped at the opportunity to play elsewhere. Didn't know the organization willfully let them go. First time I have heard that one...

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#15 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
March 08 2014, 11:08AM
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So much hype around Klefbom...

I'm looking forward to seeing what this kid can do. Judging from his interviews, he seems like a really positive, hard-working kid. Hopefully he's as advertised, and doesn't get injured again.

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#16 Cain
March 08 2014, 11:12AM
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So Jonathan,

Who sits out at center to allow Lander in the line-up.Smyth (that would make the most sense) or Gagner? Kind of a win-win situation here! Either way, I like it!

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#17 Naky
March 08 2014, 11:13AM
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@Willis

Again, we're in agreement. One way deals boil down to money especially when it comes to a player who's expected to play on the fourth line. I already brought up the points about concerns of attitude and work ethic, so unwillingness to give a one way deal comes down to unwillingness to dish the money to someone who hadn't fully proven himself. Ergo, he chased the money when it wasn't going to be given to him.

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#18 Czar
March 08 2014, 11:14AM
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@Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

The big LA forwards will be a good test for the young man,if he does dress. With his injury history I'm just hoping he survives.

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#19 Rama Lama
March 08 2014, 11:17AM
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The players we have in the AHL have excelled. Might I suggest that this has to be the way they are being utilized and coached.

I do not trust Eakins to utilize and play these players according to their strengths.......if fact his approach has been to expose player weaknesses and then tell the world they can't play defense.

The differences between the Eakins and Nelson are that players want to play for Nelson. He belongs in the NHL.

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#20 Krusher
March 08 2014, 11:17AM
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I like it. Finally, get to see the 'bom test his juice on the NHL rink.

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#21 Zangetsu
March 08 2014, 11:37AM
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Call up lander, play him with Gazdic and Jones. Send him away for nothing because he showed poorly. #oilerslogic

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#22 WeridAl
March 08 2014, 11:38AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think the only other really logical recall is Taylor Fedun. As I see it, the other guys are either a ways off (Gernat, Musil), likely aren't going to be NHL'ers (Hunt, Davidson) or are done (Grebeshkov).

You been out of touch it seems, Davidson has been OKC's best D the last 3 weeks. Fedun did have a solid year, but has been fighting the puck of late.

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#23 Oiler Al
March 08 2014, 11:39AM
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Rama Lama wrote:

The players we have in the AHL have excelled. Might I suggest that this has to be the way they are being utilized and coached.

I do not trust Eakins to utilize and play these players according to their strengths.......if fact his approach has been to expose player weaknesses and then tell the world they can't play defense.

The differences between the Eakins and Nelson are that players want to play for Nelson. He belongs in the NHL.

Rama,I know your inclination all season long has been that Eakins not the guy! I wasn't earlier on, but lately I am thinking this guys needs to go, along with the other stooges behind the bench. Nobody talks, no pats on the back and almost zero communications.

Lets say that he would get let go, Who would be a likely canidate?

PS:. Also not saying the player dont need a kick in the behind, but they look like they q

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#24 freelancer
March 08 2014, 11:42AM
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Next season on D could be very interesting. They way I see it, two of Marincin, Klef, Nurse, and if drafted Ekblad will make the team. Expecting MacT to make a move for a top D man I see something like this

______ - Ekblad Petry - Schulz Ference - (Marincin or Nurse) Fraser

Most scouts seem to think Ekblad is ready immediately and I think a true top guy would be his best mentor. Give another rookie Ference and some sheltered minutes. I still feel like Petry could be traded this summer for someone like Coburn but either way I like that for a 3-4 pairing.

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#25 John Chambers
March 08 2014, 11:43AM
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A lot of people have turned their back on this team and that's fine.

I still think it'll be entertaining to watch Scrivens and the boys try and muster a .500 record through the rest of the season while we get a look at the future.

There are a lot of value contracts coming up through the system and likely another top-3 pick. I have faith in MacT that we're oing to be a playoff team 24 months from now, and with this pool of prospects we could be good for a long, long time.

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#26 Rama Lama
March 08 2014, 12:08PM
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Oiler Al wrote:

Rama,I know your inclination all season long has been that Eakins not the guy! I wasn't earlier on, but lately I am thinking this guys needs to go, along with the other stooges behind the bench. Nobody talks, no pats on the back and almost zero communications.

Lets say that he would get let go, Who would be a likely canidate?

PS:. Also not saying the player dont need a kick in the behind, but they look like they q

I say pick someone like Nelson. The guy deserves a shot maybe not as a head coach but at least an associate.

I would love to see a established NHL coach get a chance and let that coach pick all his assistants.

Your comments on the coach never charging his team up is bang on the mark........rolling your eyes over and over again like Eakins does send the wrong message to the players.

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#27 Sevenseven
March 08 2014, 12:11PM
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In terms of the oilers Defensive depth at the prospect level, does anyone think it is deeper than center? Would it be that big of a deal if we missed out on Ekblad and got a legitimate number 2 physical center who might be ready for the nhl sooner than ekblad?

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#28 ThatButthurtOilersFan
March 08 2014, 12:14PM
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Rama Lama wrote:

The players we have in the AHL have excelled. Might I suggest that this has to be the way they are being utilized and coached.

I do not trust Eakins to utilize and play these players according to their strengths.......if fact his approach has been to expose player weaknesses and then tell the world they can't play defense.

The differences between the Eakins and Nelson are that players want to play for Nelson. He belongs in the NHL.

People seemed to think that about Eakins. Nelson needs to stay in OKC to continue to develop our prospects there.

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#29 freelancer
March 08 2014, 12:14PM
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@Rama Lama

I'm inclined to wait and see what MacT does this summer. I believe that the rest of the coaching staff will change. Instead of going through a coach a year I would rather see the focus on building a team that can compete. If we have those pieces here and we are still losing, then I would be more inclined to fire Eakins.

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#30 goalieczar22
March 08 2014, 12:19PM
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@freelancer

Marincin has already proven he is one of our best defencemen, there is no question he is on the team next year. The fact that you, and a lot of other people are already pencilling in Eckblad ahead of him is ludicrous!! How is can't miss Adam Larsen doing in New Jersey? Did Ryan Murray step into the NHL after he was drafted?

Stop being stupid, unless you want to finish 30th again.

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#31 Taylor Gang
March 08 2014, 12:20PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

I think Mark Arcobello, at least as long as he plays the way he has this season, is an NHL player.

How good is he? I think it's a real stretch to ask anybody to be Martin St. Louis. We all saw what Arcobello did when he got top-six minutes, though, and he looked a lot like a guy who could play them.

I don't know about you, but I'd feel more comfortable giving Arcobello meaningful minutes in the show than Lander. Isn't Arcobello a UFA this upcoming offseason? Maybe Arcobello cod take the 2C spot, while Lander takes the 3C spot until the end of the season?

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#32 Sevenseven
March 08 2014, 12:25PM
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John Chambers wrote:

A lot of people have turned their back on this team and that's fine.

I still think it'll be entertaining to watch Scrivens and the boys try and muster a .500 record through the rest of the season while we get a look at the future.

There are a lot of value contracts coming up through the system and likely another top-3 pick. I have faith in MacT that we're oing to be a playoff team 24 months from now, and with this pool of prospects we could be good for a long, long time.

Agree. Unfortunately looks like the oil are going to overpay for any top 4 defenseman available in free agency, but will probably only be for 1 or 2 years. I see one of our top 4 forwards being traded, and our assistant coaches getting the axe. I too am optimistic going forward, and it cant hurt scriven stealing games to change the attitude in the locker room. If we have a team that plays ourselves out of a top 3 pick, thats a good thing going forward to next year. Count me in on the Scrivens band wagon. I sure hope he is the next Roli for this franchise. It is always easier to hustle and want to win those battles when you have a 7-2-2 record.

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#33 gcw_rocks
March 08 2014, 12:25PM
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JW how had Davidson been playing recently? I have kid of hoped part off the resurgence had been to his improved play.

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#34 gcw_rocks
March 08 2014, 12:27PM
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Sevenseven wrote:

Agree. Unfortunately looks like the oil are going to overpay for any top 4 defenseman available in free agency, but will probably only be for 1 or 2 years. I see one of our top 4 forwards being traded, and our assistant coaches getting the axe. I too am optimistic going forward, and it cant hurt scriven stealing games to change the attitude in the locker room. If we have a team that plays ourselves out of a top 3 pick, thats a good thing going forward to next year. Count me in on the Scrivens band wagon. I sure hope he is the next Roli for this franchise. It is always easier to hustle and want to win those battles when you have a 7-2-2 record.

The oilers have been badly outplayed in those games. Don't be fooled by the mirage.

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#35 freelancer
March 08 2014, 12:35PM
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@goalieczar22

You were making good points until you ended it with don't be stupid. Marincin has done very well... in the 26 NHL games he has played so far. I'm not prepared to call him a stud NHL D man in less than 30gp. Marincin has the potential to be a good 3-4 shutdown guy. Ekblad has the potnetial to be a top defenseman. I'm not saying that he will reach that. My point was IF we can bring in a top guy, than that is the kind of guy who Ekblad would benefit most from learning from.

Obviously if he struggles in that role he could be moved down. This is all specualation on a player that hasn't been drafted yet. I hope that was clearer for you.

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#36 Johe
March 08 2014, 12:40PM
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This is what I would do with the lines:

Hall RNH Yakupov

Perron Lander Eberle

Hendricks Gordon Gagner

Joensuu Smyth Gazdic

Keep Lander there for minimum five games and see what he does. If you want to showcase Gagner, he is easily interchangeable with Ebs or Yak. The point is, give Lander an opportunity to succeed. Why not?

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#37 goalieczar22
March 08 2014, 12:46PM
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freelancer wrote:

You were making good points until you ended it with don't be stupid. Marincin has done very well... in the 26 NHL games he has played so far. I'm not prepared to call him a stud NHL D man in less than 30gp. Marincin has the potential to be a good 3-4 shutdown guy. Ekblad has the potnetial to be a top defenseman. I'm not saying that he will reach that. My point was IF we can bring in a top guy, than that is the kind of guy who Ekblad would benefit most from learning from.

Obviously if he struggles in that role he could be moved down. This is all specualation on a player that hasn't been drafted yet. I hope that was clearer for you.

My point is no matter how good a 17 or 18 year old defenceman is supposed to be, he cannot be pencilled into your top 6. Period. Seth Jones was supposed to be the best defense prospect in 10 years, the last time I checked he was minus 19, and that is spending time with Weber.

The only way for this team to move forward is to have actual NHL players. Not teenagers playing against everybody elses men.

Martin Marincin may not be a stud yet, but he is definitely an NHL defenceman.

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#38 Sevenseven
March 08 2014, 12:54PM
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gcw_rocks wrote:

The oilers have been badly outplayed in those games. Don't be fooled by the mirage.

Ive seen the games. But the record is there. All im saying is I hope that winning some games, regardless of how it was done, adds some hustle and effort to this team. I know we havent seen that effort, but I really hope its coming. Maybe with some prospects taking ice time away from the underperformers (gagner, eberle, yakupov etc) lights their fire. Watching scrivens race down the ice to congratulate in ot?! Awesome! Have not seen much signs of victory this year. Hope that creates a sense of team, of pride, of drive to win. Some of the new guys (Hendricks, Gordon, Perron) seem to have that. I sure hope we keep adding that, and it wears off on those top players.

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#39 Flin Flon Bomber
March 08 2014, 01:06PM
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I like that Lander is back in the bigs because this time he's coming in with heaps of confidence and has looked like a different player over this last stint in the AHL.

That being said, I feel for Arco who also deserves another chance to show that he can continue to thrive with the Oil. He looked pretty good last go around, and for those who say he's too small, I remeber him always finishing his checks and playing like a crash and banger.

If he doesn't get a shot before the end of the season, I would be disappointed if MacT didn't offer him a league minimum one way contract. Little risk there, and if he doesn't cut it, you have a leared on the farm or lose him to waivers. At least he gets the shot he deserves.

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#40 CMG30
March 08 2014, 01:32PM
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No more coaching changes please... Rightly or wrongly, Eakins is the coach and it would do more harm than good to bring in ANOTHER head coach. Having said that, do support him with proven NHL assistants.

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#41 Czar
March 08 2014, 01:48PM
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@CMG30

Agree with letting him pick new assistants in the off season but if they sh!t the bed again in the first 30 or so games next year then send him packing.

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#42 THRNHJE
March 08 2014, 02:32PM
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I understand the logic behind bringing Lander up, I really do, but I feel for Arco. The guy proves himself to be a swiss army knife forward at the nhl level (need a playmaking 2c? Check. Hard hitting defensive 3rw? Check. Someone who brings energy anywhere on the 4th? Check.) He does this well enough the coach tells him to get a place, then directly afterwards is a healthy scratch forever before being sent down. The difference financially for him is a big one. He takes it in stride, lights the A on fire and... stays in the A over Lander. It makes sense for the Barons, but God Arco has earned the raise that the NHL gives.

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#43 Bucknuck
March 08 2014, 02:51PM
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I like Lander, but in my mind Arcobello should be up with the main team. I view the teams apparent indifference toward him with the same kind of irritation I felt when they sent Ray Whitney and Miro Satan packing.

They will regret it if they let him fly the coop.

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#44 Smokey
March 08 2014, 02:53PM
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@Naky

Hemsky with 4 assists. Glad we got those depth picks. Sigh.

Good for Ales to be playing with elite talent with Spezza and Karlsson. He deserves it.

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#45 Jason
March 08 2014, 02:56PM
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Who knew Hemsky could be a top 6 forward .

So far 4 assists today.

Oilers cannot evaluate talent . They ruin players.

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#46 Johnnydapunk
March 08 2014, 03:22PM
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Jason wrote:

Who knew Hemsky could be a top 6 forward .

So far 4 assists today.

Oilers cannot evaluate talent . They ruin players.

I'm not sure it's a case of the Oilers inability to evaluate talent, but it does prove that Hemsky plays well with a good supporting cast. I wouldn't be shocked if any of the current Oil "stars" would light it up on any of the better teams.

Saying that, it also shows how players play differently in different systems, look at Perron as an example, he is on pace to smash his previous seasons totals because whatever system Eakins is playing, seems to work for him.

It's amazing the value of a system which is suited to the players at hand and good chemistry.

I'm worn out from being annoyed, now I'm just apathetic and worried more about draft position than anything.

Seems like the Oil lose when they shouldn't and strangely also win when they shouldn't .

Thy "Joys" of being an Oil fan, boh....

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#47 Rama Lama
March 08 2014, 03:46PM
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freelancer wrote:

I'm inclined to wait and see what MacT does this summer. I believe that the rest of the coaching staff will change. Instead of going through a coach a year I would rather see the focus on building a team that can compete. If we have those pieces here and we are still losing, then I would be more inclined to fire Eakins.

What has Eakins done this year that inspires your confidence? If there was one metric that is trending in the right direction I too would like to give him another chance.

But the last time I checked, we were regressing in every aspect of the game........maybe not goaltending now but everything else!

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#48 Dog Train
March 08 2014, 03:48PM
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I'm excited to see Klefbom but this is more of a trial run if you ask me. Unless he really knocks our socks off, I'd plan to have him start next season in OKC again. As for Lander, I hope he is given a legitimate chance to play with quality linemates and get offensive opportunities. We need to find out if this guy belongs in the NHL next season or he is simply just a great AHLer. I would like to see him kick down the doors of opportunity.

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#49 dougtheslug
March 08 2014, 04:02PM
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Jason wrote:

Who knew Hemsky could be a top 6 forward .

So far 4 assists today.

Oilers cannot evaluate talent . They ruin players.

Winnipeg out shooting Ottawa 50-32. Hemmer should feel right at home.

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#50 @Oilanderp
March 08 2014, 04:08PM
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I'm not opposed to the idea of giving Lander top 6 minutes, but who do you take out? Gags to the 3rd line wing? I just don't see it.

There is no spot for Lander in the top 6 right now. Maybe a 3rd line wing spot or 4th line C and PK?

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