LEARN FROM LANDER

Jason Gregor
April 24 2014 07:50AM

51-Lander-4

Moving forward, Craig MacTavish and the Oilers have to ensure they don't develop players in the same fashion that they did Anton Lander. Lander is a perfect example of being put in the NHL too quickly. I think Lander will still be a solid NHL player, but his growth was rushed and that has delayed his development.

I'm amazed at how many fans and some pundits are writing off Lander. Comments like, "He didn't score in 60 games. He has no offence," flood my inbox every time I bring up Lander. The best is when people compare him to Detroit's younger players and how he doesn't match up.

You are correct in saying he doesn't compare, because their paths to the NHL are vastly different.

Lander played 56 games as a 20-year-old rookie and he averaged 10:36/game. He was essentially a 4th line player averaging 8:53 of ES TOI/game and 1:36/game on the PK. How would anyone expect him to produce offensively playing in that role?

He was eventually sent down to OKC in late February and played 14 regular season and 14 playoff games. Last season, he started in the AHL due to the lockout, played 4 NHL games early in the year, was sent back to OKC and then recalled for the final 7 NHL games before going back down for the playoffs.

He never had a consistent, defined role until this past season in OKC. He was named captain and started the season very well. During two lengthy stints in OKC he produced 18 goals and 52 points in 46 games.

He was recalled to the Oilers and played eleven between December 5th and January 2nd. He played 10 minutes or less 6 times, before being sent back to OKC. He was recalled again and played 15 games between March 14th and April 12th. These 15 games were the first time he was given consistent minutes. He averaged 16:26 over the final 15 games. He only produced one point.

I don't see him as a second line centre, but I do wonder how much further along in his development he'd be if he had spent his first two seasons in the AHL?

DO IT LIKE DETROIT

The Red Wings do a phenomenal job of developing players, especially European born players. They draft them in the later rounds, then let them play a few more years in Europe or in the American League, or both, before bringing them to the NHL.

Pavel Datsyuk turned 20 one month after being drafted in the 6th round. He played three more years in Russia before making his NHL debut at 23. He started on the 3rd line and tallied 35 points as a rookie, 53 his second season and 68 in his third. Then the lockout hit and when he returned to the NHL, at 27 years of age, he became a superstar.

Henrik Zetterberg was drafted in the 7th round in 1999, but he didn't make his NHL debut until 2002 when he was 22. He had 43 and 44 points his first two seasons, and then after the lockout, at the age of 25, he blossomed into a 85-point player.

Johan Franzen was drafted in the 3rd round in 2004 when he was 24 years old. He scored 16 points as a 25 year old rookie in 2005/2006 and he didn't register his first 50-point season until he was 28. He's not a superstar, but he is a solid complementary player.

Niklas Kronwall was the 29th pick in 2000. He spent three more years in Sweden before coming to the AHL. He got injured his first season in North America and played 25 AHL games and 20 NHL games. He spent the following season in the AHL and at the age of 24 became a regular NHL defenceman. He was a 3rd pairing guy his first year, a 2nd pairing guy the next two and is now a very good top pairing defender.

Gustav Nyqvist was a 4th round selection in 2008. He played the next three seasons in NCAA before racking up 58 points in 56 games with Grand Rapids in the AHL in 2011/2012. He did get into 18 NHL games that year, but last season he also split his time between the AHL (60 points in 58 games) and the NHL (6 points in 22 games). He started this season in the AHL, 21 points in 15 games, before the Red Wings found some cap space and recalled him. Nyqvist is 24 and he's played 137 AHL games and 97 NHL games.

Tomas Tatar was a 2nd round pick in 2009. He was a late birthday so he was almost 19 when he was drafted. From 2009/2010 to 2012/2013 he played 265 games in the AHL and scored 196 points. He did play 9 games in the NHL in 2010/2011, but wasn't back in the show until last season. Tatar became a regular NHLer just prior to turning 23.

Darren Helm was a 5th round pick in 2005. He spent the next two seasons in the WHL with Medicine Hat, then spent two years in Grand Rapids in the AHL. He became an NHL regular in 2009/2010 three months shy of his 23rd birthday. In the spring of 2008 Helm played 18 playoff games, won a Stanley Cup, but started the next season in the minors. He wasn't recalled until late in the year, got into some playoff action again and then made the team in training camp. The Wings don't guarantee spots to their young kids. They keep them hungry and make them earn it.

Jakub Kindl was a the 19th overall pick in 2005. He played two more seasons in the OHL, then three with Grand Rapids in the AHL. In 2010 and 2011 he was with the Red Wings but dressed for 48 and 55 games due to injury and being a healthy scratch. He became an every-game player at 25 years old. He isn't an elite player, he's a #5, but he's a solid contributor.

Jonathan Ericsson was the 291st pick in 2002. He spent four more seasons in Sweden before debuting in the AHL in 2006. He played 2 1/2 seasons in the AHL, before he was recalled late in the 2008/2009 season, dressed for 19 regular season games and 22 more in the playoffs. He was a solid #5 D-men, playing 18:43/game in their run to the Cup. He was a solid #5 D-man for his first three NHL seasons, until last year, at the age of 28, he became a top-pair guy playing 22 minutes a night. Detroit never felt the need to rush him or give him more than 17-18 minutes a night. He matured, gained confidence and is now a solid NHL defender.

Justin Abdelkader was a 2nd round pick in 2005. He spent three more seasons in the NCAA and then 1 1/2 season in the AHL. He played 12:18/game (11th most amongst Det forwards) during his first full NHL season, 2010/2011, and strangely enough played the exact same amount, 12:18/game, in his second year. For the past two seasons he's been a solid 3rd line centre. 

Even Nicklas Lidstrom never debuted in the NHL until he was 21 back in 1991/1992, two years after he was drafted as a 19 year old. Jiri Hudler, Valtteri Filppula and many others are prime examples of how to develop young skill. The Wings don't rush their young players. Whether you are an offensive star, a checker or a D-man the Wings don't hand young players icetime or a spot in the lineup. They let their kids develop their skills, and most importantly their confidence at lower levels, and the entire time they keep those kids yearning for a spot in the NHL.

The Oilers have delayed Lander's development because they rushed him into the league too early, and didn't allow him to develop his offensive confidence. This past year was the first year he did, and he put up very good AHL numbers.

Writing Lander off as someone with no offensive potential is ridiculous. I don't see him as a top-six forward, but he has the potential to be an excellent 4th line centre, and likely a solid 3rd liner. The issue for the Oilers is he'd be best served to play one more year, or at least another half season, in the AHL, but he needs to clear waivers.

He might clear, many teams send "on the cusp" players to the AHL every year, and many aren't claimed because they have a few players similar in their organization, but he could just as easily be grabbed by another team.

The Oilers don't have much centre depth so they likely can't expose him to waivers, but they need to learn from this, and ensure that they don't rush their next group of prospects.

QUICK HITS...

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  • Lander needs to improve his speed. He isn't ready to play 16+ minutes a night, but if he wants to contribute next year as a 4th or 3rd line player he needs to get quicker.

  • I would send Darnell Nurse back to junior next fall. He is too young to go to the AHL, and I don't see any reason to rush him into the NHL. Alex Pietrangelo spent two years in junior after being drafted 4th overall, and he didn't hurt him. The Oilers need to be patient.

  • It is interesting to note the Wings haven't had much success drafting CHL players. Since 1995, the only CHL players to play 100+ games for the Wings are Jiri Fischer (305 games, injury cut short his career), Derek Meech (144 games), Kyle Quincey (375 and counting), and Helm. They prefer Europeans or NCAA players likely because they can play against men in Europe and develop, or come out of college at 21 or 22 and not need to be finished their ELC and be waiver eligible at 21 or 22 like Lander and Tyler Pitlick.

  • Bogdan Yakimov, Anton Slepyshev, Mitch Moroz and Jujhar Khaira will all be 20 next season. The first two will either play in Russia for another season or come over to the AHL, while the two WHLers can get their feet wet in the AHL. I'd keep all of them in the AHL for at least two seasons, and the only way they get recalled is on an injury basis. Let them learn the pro game.

  • I'd have no problem if Oscar Klefbom and/or Martin Marincin started in the AHL next year. There is nothing wrong with being patient with young players.

  • Tough loss at home for OKC last night. They led 2-0 midway through the 2nd period, before losing 3-2 in OT. They have to win game two at home to have any hopes of winning the best of five series, because the final three games are on the road.

THANK YOU

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A big THANK YOU to Page the Cleaner for offering to dry clean all the suits and shirts that were donated to The Gregor Foundation. It was a very generous offer and we appreciate it.

Also, thanks to Matt and the gentlemen from Pi Kappa Alpha, Lambda Epsilon Chapter at the U of A. Those young gents emailed me and wanted to help. They collected 21 suits, 25 dress shirts and 5 pairs of dress shoes. It is great to see young Edmontonians offering to help out. Thanks guys.

And THANK YOU to all of you who donated suits, shirts, ties or shoes. They are still rolling in, which is awesome (you can click link above to see drop off spots) and once I have a final tally I will let you know. It warms my heart to see so many people willing to help those in need.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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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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#1 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 08:18AM
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People that say follow the Detroit model have to realize:

1)Detroit has one of the best owners in the NHL Edmonton does not.

2)Detroit has one of the best POHO in the NHL Edmonton does not.

3)Detroit has one of the best GM's in the NHL Edmonton does not.

4)Detroit has one of the best coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

5)Detroit has some of the best assistant coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

6)Detroit has some of the best scouts both pro and amateur in the NHL Edmonton does not.

7)Detroit does not rush players to the NHL Edmonton does.

Other than that the organizations are spitting images of each other.

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#2 Zamboni Driver
April 24 2014, 09:47AM
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@ColourMeImpressed

And comparing "Anton Lander" and "Boyd Gordon" really exemplifies the garbage that we are forced to follow in this town.

Trust me.

Zero people in the NHL know or care who either of those two people are.

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#3 Wintoon
April 24 2014, 08:15AM
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For several years now Oiler management have preached patience and, for the most part, fans have accepted this mantra. Now, as we approach the key development segment of the re-build, fans are getting very impatient just when patience is needed most.

I want the Oilers to turn the corner and be a successful, winning team as much as anyone. However, my hope is not that they build a team to make the playoffs but rather build a team to contend for the Stanley Cup. This will take continued patience.

Has the re-build gone as we expected? Not really. Is it still on track? Definitely. Do we have the talent to compete for the Cup? Not yet. Is it achievable Yes, most definitely. Will I cheer for the Oilers? Of course. Can MacT deliver a Cup contending team? Yes, I believe he can. He is both intelligent and driven to succeed.

So please, have patience for a little while longer, continue to support the team and realize that not one of the players want to fail. They too are driven and want to get to the playoffs and contend for the Cup. Too often fans start brandishing their verbal knives out of frustration.

With the talent currently in the system and a decent 2014 draft and off-season, we should see strides made in the coming season.

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#4 Zamboni Driver
April 24 2014, 09:33AM
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The comments here are so hilarious, also to be filed under "here we go again".

Everyone loves everyone on the Oilers.

Last. Last. Second Last. Fourth Last. Third last.

Please. For the love of god, start using your brains.

you hope ANTON LANDER pans out. Because of his huge upside as a fourth liner?

Unreal.

The wisest post above by far was the Oilers/Red Wings comparison. and if you were one of the 15 deep thinkers that trashed it, you go ahead and put on your "I love Sam Gagner" underoos, and prepare to watch other teams play in April/May/June forever.

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#5 He Who Knows
April 24 2014, 09:36AM
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Spydyr wrote:

People that say follow the Detroit model have to realize:

1)Detroit has one of the best owners in the NHL Edmonton does not.

2)Detroit has one of the best POHO in the NHL Edmonton does not.

3)Detroit has one of the best GM's in the NHL Edmonton does not.

4)Detroit has one of the best coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

5)Detroit has some of the best assistant coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

6)Detroit has some of the best scouts both pro and amateur in the NHL Edmonton does not.

7)Detroit does not rush players to the NHL Edmonton does.

Other than that the organizations are spitting images of each other.

I agree 100% brother. The very odd thing is that you have quite a few trashes.....hmmmm paid shills sent out by the Soviet Oilers yet again. Stay classy Oilers.

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#6 Oilers
April 24 2014, 09:13AM
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Spydyr wrote:

People that say follow the Detroit model have to realize:

1)Detroit has one of the best owners in the NHL Edmonton does not.

2)Detroit has one of the best POHO in the NHL Edmonton does not.

3)Detroit has one of the best GM's in the NHL Edmonton does not.

4)Detroit has one of the best coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

5)Detroit has some of the best assistant coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

6)Detroit has some of the best scouts both pro and amateur in the NHL Edmonton does not.

7)Detroit does not rush players to the NHL Edmonton does.

Other than that the organizations are spitting images of each other.

You are 100% correct. I am surprised, well not, actually to see this comment trashed.

Detroit has the best organization in the league. Edmonton the worst. As long as their are dreamers in this city that think Lowe and Mac T can fix this without voicing to the media like Vancouver did, we are as they say, doomed.

Edmonton under Lowe has done everything wrong. We need a change. The reason Canadian NHL teams are failing is this reliance on old NHLer's to run the team. Take a look at the stats. Last 8 years, all cups won by non ex-NHL Gm's. Consistently, the Non NHL GM's outperform.

Until Lowe leaves, count on the bottom of the league and and status quo.

This post is 100% correct

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#7 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 24 2014, 09:12AM
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So, Anton hasn't been the player many hoped as of this day, even though he's done everything asked of him by the coaches. Maybe therein lies the problem. Some players appear underwhelming when shackled to a system. He never struggled with the defensive side of the game to begin with. Just the wrong team in the wrong decade for Lander. He needs a fresh start in a progressive organization.

This management group would've certainly buried Pavel Bure in the minors because he struggled with cycling the puck down low.

It's only 9.00 am Spydyr, but you win the internet this day for your indepth analysis between the Oilers/Red Wings organizations. Well played sir.

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#8 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 10:02AM
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He Who Knows wrote:

I agree 100% brother. The very odd thing is that you have quite a few trashes.....hmmmm paid shills sent out by the Soviet Oilers yet again. Stay classy Oilers.

Some people can't handle the truth.

Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

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#10 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 08:11AM
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Learn from Gagner also.

He came in too young and has not progressed especially defensively.Some would say he has regressed.

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#11 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 24 2014, 08:30AM
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Excellent article.

Just wondering: you seem to presume they qualify Lander. There's been some suggestion (I don't mean by "insiders" here, just idle chatter) that Lander will only accept a 1-way deal and the Oilers will want to qualify him at the minimum:

http://www.capgeek.com/qualifying-offer-calculator/?player_id=2010

(he doesn't have to be offered a 1-way).

Do you have any read on how the situation is going to go?

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#12 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 09:16AM
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Oilers wrote:

You are 100% correct. I am surprised, well not, actually to see this comment trashed.

Detroit has the best organization in the league. Edmonton the worst. As long as their are dreamers in this city that think Lowe and Mac T can fix this without voicing to the media like Vancouver did, we are as they say, doomed.

Edmonton under Lowe has done everything wrong. We need a change. The reason Canadian NHL teams are failing is this reliance on old NHLer's to run the team. Take a look at the stats. Last 8 years, all cups won by non ex-NHL Gm's. Consistently, the Non NHL GM's outperform.

Until Lowe leaves, count on the bottom of the league and and status quo.

This post is 100% correct

Thank you,Edmonton seems to have an issue with hiring experienced people.They just don't.The only explanation I have been able to think of is Lowe not wanting to hire anyone who could pose a threat to him.

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#13 Next up, is Connor McJesus.
April 24 2014, 09:18AM
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For the few who are concerned about Sam Bennetts 6'0" 187lbs 17 yr old frame. When the Oil drafted Dillon Simpson at 18, he was 6'0" 192lbs. Today, virtually NHL ready he's 6'2" and 205 lbs.

Sam Bennetts size will never be an issue.

Dawg, meet bone.

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#14 BleedingOil
April 24 2014, 09:42AM
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Spydyr wrote:

People that say follow the Detroit model have to realize:

1)Detroit has one of the best owners in the NHL Edmonton does not.

2)Detroit has one of the best POHO in the NHL Edmonton does not.

3)Detroit has one of the best GM's in the NHL Edmonton does not.

4)Detroit has one of the best coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

5)Detroit has some of the best assistant coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

6)Detroit has some of the best scouts both pro and amateur in the NHL Edmonton does not.

7)Detroit does not rush players to the NHL Edmonton does.

Other than that the organizations are spitting images of each other.

Some people are just gonna bash. Yes, follow Detroit. If we have been for the past 10 years then your post would read:

People that say follow the Detroit model have to realize:

1)Detroit has one of the best owners in the NHL just like Edmonton

2)Detroit has one of the best POHO in the NHL just like Edmonton

3)Detroit has one of the best GM's in the NHL just like Edmonton

4)Detroit has one of the best coaches in the NHL just like Edmonton

5)Detroit has some of the best assistant coaches in the NHL just like Edmonton

6)Detroit has some of the best scouts both pro and amateur in the NHL just like Edmonton

7)Detroit does not rush players to the NHL just like Edmonton

the organizations are spitting images of each other.

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#15 djc
April 24 2014, 10:20AM
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Spydyr wrote:

Some people can't handle the truth.

Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Some people are overly obsessed about how many trashes and likes their comments receive. I hope you have more going for you in life than worrying about how your comments on a blog are received.

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#16 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 10:29AM
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djc wrote:

Some people are overly obsessed about how many trashes and likes their comments receive. I hope you have more going for you in life than worrying about how your comments on a blog are received.

It was in response to He Who Knows .He was wondering why the post received so many trashes.

This site is a time passer for me.Some people play games such as candy crush or angry birds I prefer intelligent discussion about something I have followed my entire life,hockey.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

This is entertainment not life.

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#18 John Chambers
April 24 2014, 08:22AM
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Nice write- up, Gregor.

I hope the Oilers are successful in filling in Defense and depth positions on the roster through free agency to keep developing players out of the pro lineup.

Tyler Pitlick is another guy who IMO should spend an entire season down in the A.

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#19 ColourMeImpressed
April 24 2014, 09:06AM
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I don't think there's any proof that the Oilers delayed Lander's development.

But there's definitive proof that they chose to develop him in the NHL, while he could have been in Sweden or the AHL learning to play better.

If you really want a freaky parallel for Lander, compare him to Gordon.

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=107124

http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=50642

The similarities are surreal.

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#20 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 09:24AM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Gagner may not have progressed but I am not sure if that is because what was expected of him and how bad the team was or if he was rushed.

He achieved what he needed to achieve in the CHL and was fine in his first two years. Gagners lack of progress is because the team has been terrible and management has not supplied a winning culture (yes I hate that saying) and or nhl players for the like of Hemsky, Gagner, Penner, etc.

The team was competitive in his rookie year and he did his part. What was asked of him and hemksy (a further to cogliano and nilsson) by management is what hurt him. also with 5 coaches in 7 years doesnt help.

Wait until he gets traded to the east where they dont play defense and the average size is much smaller, he will put up the points and learn to be more effective defensively.

Personally I can't wait till he gets traded.

He is not the right fit for this team.His skill set is covered by better players.

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#21 MattL
April 24 2014, 09:26AM
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Spydyr wrote:

People that say follow the Detroit model have to realize:

1)Detroit has one of the best owners in the NHL Edmonton does not.

2)Detroit has one of the best POHO in the NHL Edmonton does not.

3)Detroit has one of the best GM's in the NHL Edmonton does not.

4)Detroit has one of the best coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

5)Detroit has some of the best assistant coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

6)Detroit has some of the best scouts both pro and amateur in the NHL Edmonton does not.

7)Detroit does not rush players to the NHL Edmonton does.

Other than that the organizations are spitting images of each other.

I'm a little tired of hearing about the Detroit model. They are still in the hangover period from being able to spend more money than anyone else. Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen and Lidstrom before he retired were all products of the golden age of spending, and their "development strategy" has come from the luxury of years of stacked teams and a "winning culture" being attractive to free agents. Not to mention the ability to lure and keep a coach like Mike Babcock.

In the cap era, you would expect these advantages to slowly start disappearing, and the Wings to fall back into the pack, which is exactly what's happening. If their system is so superior, why are they suddenly average? In 5 years they'll have exactly the same problems as the other 29 teams in the league.

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#22 risto siltanen's slapshot
April 24 2014, 10:42AM
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@djc

i totally agree that some of these posts are more narcissistic than informational.now to give myself the prop this deserved.

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#23 risto siltanen's slapshot
April 24 2014, 10:53AM
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pretty soon we'll see Gordon on a playoff team and we'll lament about not having enough experience...eg.horcoff also if we put all our better players on the farm can't we just watch the barons next year? until we get some veteran depth and leadership we'll walk the desert until moses leads us out.who's going to be that player? oh yeah it'll be another youngster from the draft. san jose didn't start being a powerhouse until they brought in thornton. how many high picks did they have until then? even the glory years wouldn't have happened without some wise character acquisitions. huddy,gregg,hughes McClelland,mcsorley,krushelnyski,etc...not just the allstars. go get some character

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#24 Will
April 24 2014, 11:07AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Who was the last big name free agent to go to Detroit?

They signed Steven Weiss and again Alfredsson. So which free agent signings are they coasting on?

They have developed Nyqvist, Tatar, Abdelkader, Helm, Miller, Sheahan and Jurco.

On defence they have developed Ericsson, Kronwall and now have Smith, Kindl and Lashoff.

Their best free agent signing was Dekeyser out of college. Just like how the Oilers got J.Schultz.

Detroit is not coasting on big name free agents. They have built a strong development program and use it now more than ever. They have had to use a few guys before they wanted, but they are still very competitive. A strong coach and GM helps, no doubt, but the organization overall develops their own, they don't rely on free agents signings much anymore.

I'd say Weiss and Alfredsson are some pretty big name free agents. But I was also speaking over the course of their current playoff streak. Since 2005 some of the big names that I can quickly recall are Osgood, Hasek, Rafalski, Hossa, Dekeyser, and of course Weiss and Alfredsson.

In the same span of time, what big name free agents have the oilers acquired?

Also, you are right in that the team is not coasting on these signings, but it really helps that they have the ability to sign these guys.

Anyway, lost in all of that was not that Detroit has it easy, but I really want to know how they went from terrible to good? Were they previously rushing players, or did they have to be patient, way longer than their fans expected to be? Also, that they began this type of thing 22 years ago, where as the Oilers are trying to build this type of model in today's NHL. And that is maybe not much more difficult, but it's at least a lot different now.

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#25 Oiler Al
April 24 2014, 04:52PM
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Lets get real here, nice guy, but Lander is a lot closer to Dud, then Stud.

He cant skate that well, cant shoot that well, and isnt that tough, face offs arent that great... what is he bringing to the game.

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#27 ColourMeImpressed
April 24 2014, 09:10AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Oilers have a choice not to force feed Marincin and Klefbom. They could bring in a veteran or two to allow them more seasoning.

The Wings haven't signed major free agents every year since lockout, but their philosophy hasn't changed. They don't rush players and since they never have they always have a steady stream coming in. Oilers need to start that thinking now so in three, four and five years they have 22 and 23 year olds ready to step in.

Oilers are definitely rushing Klefbom a bit, but Marincin has had over a season in the AHL. He could probably stand to use more, but given the limited options in free agency and the unlikeliness of winning a trade from our bad trading position, it's not like we have too much to offer back.

Also, Klefbom looks more physically ready for the game than Marincin, though he's less likely to make the right decisions at this point.

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#29 ColourMeImpressed
April 24 2014, 09:30AM
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@Jason Gregor

Jason,

I agree that Marincin tailed off and again, agree with you about him getting some size throughout the summer. That said, I still think he's a better option than a Nick Schultz-type of plug that we'll get in free agency. Then we'd likely be stuck with that plug a year or two longer than we'd like, either because we overpaid (this is unrestricted free agency, after all) or because coach-loves-vets syndrome.

Other than Markov and maybe Niskanen, there are no top-pairing defencemen available in free agency. We don't need any more 4/5/6/7 d-men either, so signing another Ference wouldn't really help. I don't see Markov leaving Montreal, certainly not for Edmonton (climate, travel, western conference, loser team). Niskanen might be tempted but there will also be 25 other teams seriously bidding for his services.

So if the choice is really Marincin and Klefbom over the next Nick Schultz and Mark Fistric, I'll take Marincin and Klefbom. Neither is going to get ruined by playing in the NHL, just tired and worn down and learn by exposure what it takes to compete every single night.

Also, the Oilers have to send Justin Schultz down to the third pairing and feature him on the power play. Kid can't play a lick of defence.

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#30 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
April 24 2014, 10:06AM
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I would send Darnell Nurse back to junior next fall. He is too young to go to the AHL, and I don't see any reason to rush him into the NHL. Alex Pietrangelo spent two years in junior after being drafted 4th overall, and he didn't hurt him. The Oilers need to be patient.

JG, not sure what you're basing your decision on.

All I hope is that there's a solid and continuous decision making process when it comes to keeping junior players with the big club.

If the player is judged accordingly and there's still no clear evidence to send him back to junior or keep him in the NHL, only then apply the "better to be safe than sorry" approach.

If Nurse has a good training camp and exhibition, give him a chance in the regular season. Let him show you if he's ready or not. If he plays well enough in the 9 regular season games, so be it - follow the process.

Don't make predetermined decision.

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#32 Will
April 24 2014, 11:20AM
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Greggor any chance you could do a piece comparing 3rd line centres in the league? Also, maybe debunk the myth of 3 scoring lines. I.E. which teams have them, how are they made up, how much are they paying for them? how did they get them?

Heck, maybe you should do an entire myth busters segment debunking the myths that fans have built up in their minds.

Myths like how all teams have bigger, cheaper, and more skilled second line centres. (not that I'm a particular fan of Gagner).

Or Myths like Yak was terrible this year, even though he was used terribly.

Or how about Shea Webber is untradable?

I don't know, but it could be a good way to bring some of the fans back to reality a little bit.

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#33 Will
April 24 2014, 11:21AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Since 2005...Oilers signed Souray, Penner, J.Schultz...not awful...And had deal with Nylander that he backed out of at last moment, blessing in disguise for them.

Osgood was signed in August for $800,000, not sure I'd say he was a major signing. Good depth signing, but at time wasn't sought after.

The Wings got new ownership and that changed things. They spent big money in the 90s and that helped for sure, but they also have had a steady stream of developing their draft picks. Even now they rarely rush guys.

You need strong leadership, and that is biggest concern in Edmonton. Do they have the right philosophy. Will MacTavish be different. We shall see.

Fair enough, I suppose you could add Belangier, Habby, and Belov to that list?

Also, Penner was an offer sheet not a UFA, so is that really the same?

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#34 Raine
April 24 2014, 12:14PM
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There are plenty of examples the Oilers have rushed, Lander isn't one of them. Lander has been given plenty of time in OKC and should of gained plenty of experience with OKC being in the playoffs quite often. Sure, he got some looks with the Oilers and that should have helped him even more. He should of seen his weakness in the NHL and worked on them in the AHL - he's been given that opportunity time and time again.

Now Captain in the AHL, I see nothing but a player being groomed and it maybe all for nothing. We likely don't have a player with a real NHL future.

I'm willing to wait, but to say the Oilers did poorly on this player and that he is/was rushed is a far cry.

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#35 John Chambers
April 24 2014, 08:46AM
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@Romulus' Apotheosis

Judging by Arco's contract, it would seem Lander would have to accept a 2-way.

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#37 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 08:58AM
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I hope they sign Lander also.Right now he is a legit call-up and it is too soon to cut bait.

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#38 admiralmark
April 24 2014, 09:09AM
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We hear about this Detroit model and how it should be followed but have we actually ever heard it from Oiler management? Because even if they said it they sure don't actually follow it. I wonder how much Lander playing up his first year had to do with the Oilers a) Once again rushing a prospect i.e. Paajaarvi and b) Wanting Lander to play with his buddy Paajarvi? It was a fragile time after some high level UFA players were persued and failed.

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#39 Fresh Mess
April 24 2014, 09:16AM
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Spydyr wrote:

People that say follow the Detroit model have to realize:

1)Detroit has one of the best owners in the NHL Edmonton does not.

2)Detroit has one of the best POHO in the NHL Edmonton does not.

3)Detroit has one of the best GM's in the NHL Edmonton does not.

4)Detroit has one of the best coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

5)Detroit has some of the best assistant coaches in the NHL Edmonton does not.

6)Detroit has some of the best scouts both pro and amateur in the NHL Edmonton does not.

7)Detroit does not rush players to the NHL Edmonton does.

Other than that the organizations are spitting images of each other.

Wings don't have ridiculous POHO title. Holland the GM is head of hockey ops as it should be.

They have a single, real president as it should be.

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#40 vetinari
April 24 2014, 09:20AM
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There's a lot of life and development between 18 and 22 years of age for a player.

Take Yak for example-- not only was he rushed into the NHL but he had a new city to get used to, new coaches in both of his years here, and a ton of expectations after his rookie season. That doesn't even factor in any cultural or language issues transitioning to a North American lifestyle. Also, and I'm not suggesting that Yak is the main instigator here, but let's not forget the fun and distraction of being a millionaire at such a young age, travelling North America all year long and enjoying the night life.

I think Detroit has figured out that if you don't rush your draft picks to the NHL, they get some life experience, maturity, and hockey knowledge before they arrive and more likely to be successful. Also, they are more likely to be able to handle the money and fame that being a professional hockey player brings.

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#41 Romulus' Apotheosis
April 24 2014, 09:20AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

Thanks for typo. I'd be very surprised if they didn't qualify him. They have little depth at centre in the organization and he is only 22. Nelson loves him and Scott saw him most of year in OKC. Of course the player wants the best contract, but he's not in the best situation to negotiate.

Scott knows him very well, and he will be heavily involved in the negotiations. I think we will see a one-year deal, and I see it being a one-way deal around similar money to Arcobello ($600,000). Or if it is a two-way deal then make his minor league money around $250,000.

I do wonder if the Oilers would look at two-year deal that pays him one-way in 2nd year and $1million. Show faith that they believe he will develop, plus Lander gets a 2nd year guaranteed.

agreed. Lander's got no leverage.

I know he was scouted in OKC around the deadline. But, there's no way someone offer sheets him and I could only see an unsigned Lander thrown in as a sweeter for a much bigger trade.

I think the concern is more that he bolts for Europe, like Rajala and Hartikainen.

I sure hope he stays.

It's a really good point about Scott too. First thing I thought of after he got hired was: this is good for Lander.

I like the diversity of options you offer for contracts. I hope they get something done.

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#42 Spydyr
April 24 2014, 09:22AM
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Next up, is Connor McJesus. wrote:

So, Anton hasn't been the player many hoped as of this day, even though he's done everything asked of him by the coaches. Maybe therein lies the problem. Some players appear underwhelming when shackled to a system. He never struggled with the defensive side of the game to begin with. Just the wrong team in the wrong decade for Lander. He needs a fresh start in a progressive organization.

This management group would've certainly buried Pavel Bure in the minors because he struggled with cycling the puck down low.

It's only 9.00 am Spydyr, but you win the internet this day for your indepth analysis between the Oilers/Red Wings organizations. Well played sir.

Thanks man, Have you or anyone else here heard the Sather is going to retire after the playoffs and Gretzky to NY as the new GM rumor.

I think it might be crap brought up because he is selling his California home but it is intriguing.Gretzky belongs back in hockey.

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#43 ColourMeImpressed
April 24 2014, 09:34AM
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@Zamboni Driver

Do yourself a favor and compare Lander's career stats vs Gordon's.

Then ask yourself how nice it would be to have a player the caliber of Boyd Gordon, for a lot less money.

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#44 S cottV
April 24 2014, 09:51AM
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With all the latest and greatest techiques for increasing Landers quickness, you might get him 5% quicker.

Problem is - he needs to be 10 to 15% quicker.

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#46 Will
April 24 2014, 10:12AM
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Everyone talks about how Detroit develops its talent. And everyone mentions how they were an awful team, then became a perennial playoff and cup contender. But no one say show the heck they did that. By my eye they had great scouts that managed to pluck guys out of Russia, which built an incredible core other players wanted to be apart of. From there they've been coasting on free agent signings and having the luxury of developing players.

But the NHL os a lot different now than it was 22 years ago when they became a playoff team. Not to mention, Detroit is always in the running for big name free agents, or on a short list of places players will go to if they have a no trade clause.

Edmonton is not, and they never will be unless they start overpaying for some big name free agents of their own, trade some high profile assets ala Columbus for a more balanced line up, and become a competitive team that other players want to be apart of.

A big reason Detroit has been so successful is the scouting and management. Everyone wants to play for Babcock. Who the hell wants to play for Eakins and Lowe?

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#47 Ed in Edmonton
April 24 2014, 10:14AM
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Wayne Gretzky is as qualified to be the GM of the Rangers as K. Lowe is to be POHO of the Oilers.

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#48 David S
April 24 2014, 10:36AM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Gagner may not have progressed but I am not sure if that is because what was expected of him and how bad the team was or if he was rushed.

He achieved what he needed to achieve in the CHL and was fine in his first two years. Gagners lack of progress is because the team has been terrible and management has not supplied a winning culture (yes I hate that saying) and or nhl players for the like of Hemsky, Gagner, Penner, etc.

The team was competitive in his rookie year and he did his part. What was asked of him and hemksy (a further to cogliano and nilsson) by management is what hurt him. also with 5 coaches in 7 years doesnt help.

Wait until he gets traded to the east where they dont play defense and the average size is much smaller, he will put up the points and learn to be more effective defensively.

Gagner and Penner were great together. The perfect compliments to each other's strengths. Then the team decided they needed magic beans more than a big power forward who could score 30. I mean who needs those guys, right?

Greatest Tank Battles indeed.

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#49 OilDieHard
April 24 2014, 10:41AM
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leave Lander in the AHL all of next year as well as Bogdan if he comes over, Slepyshev if he comes over, and Moroz and Khaira. at least one full year for all of them so they can properly develop. but i feel that unless Lander can find a way to get his speed up to the NHL level, he'll be doomed to play on the bottom 2 lines his whole NHL career, if he ever plays in the NHL full time? and leave Nurse in junior next year. my 2 cents.

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#50 Will
April 24 2014, 10:41AM
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Spurzey wrote:

Why would anyone trust you?

Zero people on this site know or care who you are.

Boyd Gordon is a typical western Canadian kid who made the show on guts and determination while not having natural talent like a lot of others he played against. Lander could develop into the same type of player.

Go back to washing ice.

Speaking of Gordon, why the hell is everyone down on Gordon, saying we won't be a playoff team until he's on the fourth line. The guy ate nothing but defensive zone starts and PK, and yet he still managed to be only 5 points behind Pitsburgh's third line centre, and he did it in 7 less games.

Oh yea, Suter makes 2.06 mil, is an RFA this year, and the Pens had to give up Jordan Stall to get him.

True, Gordon makes 3 mil a year, but he's locked up at that till 2016. And again, defensive zone starts. What was he like second in the league for most difficult ice time?

I think the Oiler team build is not to demote Gordon and have this mythical "3 scoring lines" BS. But they will be a playoff team when they balance out their top six and can roll two very deadly top lines, like the Pens. And have some legitimate help on the back end. With Gordon as 3rd line pivot, it has the making of one of the best shut down lines in the NHL. With some help on the wings, that could be a very difficult line to play against next year.

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