Time for a new Lander?

With the SEL season over for his TIMRA squad, savvy center Anton Lander has some decisions to make.

Anton Lander has already been asked the question. The Swedish media want to know if another season in TIMRA is possible for the young 2-way C. The latest quote (filtered through google translate) comes from Hockey Express:

  • "It can be farmer’s league, the NHL or Timra. It is completely wide open. I must know what to feel and what is best for me and my development. There are many things that come into play."

I’ve been hoping the Oilers would sign Lander and bring him over for a late season look-see with OKC Barons. It would give GM Steve Tambellini and the rest of the Oilers braintrust an idea about how close Lander is to NHL duty. At this point, his SEL season–while solid–has enough questions for us to wonder about his readiness.

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In his first 42 games, Lander was cruising (9-14-23 -4) but his final 7 games (2-1-3 -9) were part of a team free fall that saw Timra lose a playoff spot and come alarmingly close to relegation. From Lander’s point of view, there may be an urge to stay another year before leaving his SEL team for the big leagues.

The Oilers C depth chart at the pro level for 10-11 looks like this:

  1. Shawn Horcoff (Oilers)
  2. Sam Gagner (Oilers)
  3. Andrew Cogliano (Oilers)
  4. Colin Fraser (Oilers)
  5. Ryan O’Marra (Barons)
  6. Milan Kytnar (Barons)
  7. Chris Vande Velde (Barons)

This is not the 1927 Yankees, and there are a few wingers (Brule, Hall, Reddox) who may end up playing the middle next season). Bubbling under, outside the NHL but turning pro or coming over from Europe this fall, could be the following:

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  1. Anton Lander: 2-way C with excellent speed. 49gp, 11-15-26 SEL
  2. Tyler Pitlick: Tambellini is high on him, saying here that “Pitlick’s a horse. I see him as a second- to third-line centre:" Turns 20 in November, suffered an ankle injury last week. Played wing in Medicine Hat but the organization sees him in the middle.
  3. Ryan Martindale: Skill center turns 20 in late October of this season and can turn pro. 60gp, 34-47-81 currently playing the middle in one of the OHL’s high octane scoring lines.

The Oilers have a lot of duplication at the NHL level and Lander’s skill set is unique in the group (save the veteran Horcoff) because of his impressive 2-way resume even at a young age.

Bob McKenzie on draft day: Lander is a two-way checking forward with excellent outside speed. He can make plays at full speed and controls the puck with a lot of confidence. A very unselfish player, Lander is always aware of where his teammates are and makes good crisp passes. He is a hard working forechecker, keeping his feet moving all the time. With a strong quick release wrist shot, he often uses d-men as a screen off the offensive rush. Lander drives the net hard with and without the puck and doesn’t quit on the puck until the whistle goes. Reliable and disciplined, he brings a consistent effort to the rink every game and always improves his team’s chances of winning a game. Will adapt and play any role given by coach."

For the Edmonton Oilers, Anton Lander represents real hope for the future. Skilled with an idea about how to play without the puck. A few games in the AHL before the season runs out could benefit both player and organization in evaluating the future.

  • forestscooter

    I hope the Oilers do bring him over and give him a look. Depth at the center position may dictate what trades they ‘do/don’t’ make at the draft and who they ‘may/may not’ draft. That’s a pretty good reason alone.

  • Dan the Man

    I would be quite disappointed if the Oil were not able to bring Lander over for a look this year. He looked like a real competitor at the world juniors.

    But what happened to Vande Velde this year?

    I thought he had a really nice training camp and pre-season and he would be the type of player the Oilers could use as a 4C.

  • Cervantes

    I think your statement on our centre depth is overstated, especially since it seems that the Oilers model is 3 scoring lines and a huge tough defense instead of Top6/Checking/Energy

    1.Shawn Horcoff (1/2 C)
    2.Sam Gagner (2/3, trade bait for an upgrade)
    3.Andrew Cogliano (3C/PK, might be moved to wing)
    4.Colin Fraser (After a disappointingly uneventful season, I expect CF to be in OKC or moved next year.)
    5.Ryan O’Marra (Didnt’ look horrible in his games, but probably low on the chart)
    6.Milan Kytnar (Will get a good look.)
    7.Chris Vande Velde (Great training camp, bad season, he’s more likely to be a 4th line winger if he hits the big leagues.)

    Throw in Martindale (having a great year in the O, but not likely to jump to the big club) and Pitlick (looking good, but will only get a cup of coffee next year), and suddenly Lander is high up there. Young, experienced, two-way, leader. Faceoffs % is getting better.

    With JFJ, Storts, Fraser, Smac, and Brule likely all heading out, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Lander in the mix for the bottom 6. Ideally lined up with a veteran, PK taking, faceoff winning centre who can show him how to get it done.

    He’s not huge, but put a bigger vet centre who can skate between 6′, 190lb Lander and 5’11, 185lb Cogliano, and you have a good energy/checking/pk line that will scare other coaches into taking their 4th lines off the ice, and also teach both those kids how to win a faceoff. Seems like a good way to build for the future.

  • Peterborough

    I would like to see him stay there for another year. No need to rush him. I’m a big fan of letting smaller players fill out before making them play pro over here(Eberle, Omark). Plus its another year before to get a better look at guys like VanVelde and O’Marra who are both running out of time IMO.

  • Lowetide

    I think Cervantes nailed it. The Oilers want 3 scoring lines, one shut down line, and the biggest baddest defense in the league. Lander might be one of the shutdown guys. Maybe next year, maybe the year after.

    • Peterborough

      Most likely the year after that. Its probably best for contracts that way anyway. There is absolutely no rush at all on this guy or Hamilton or any of our young prospects. I’m convinced this guy plays for us and for a long time. Its a question of when he developes and I would prefer he take another year doing it before he starts his ELC with us.

  • Kodiak

    I would like to see Lander in OKC next year. A familiarity with the game over here and also with potential teammates would outweigh any reasons for him to stay in The SEL.

  • Lowetide

    LT, at your other home you discussed the clear day list for AHL teams. He is not on that so how could they bring him over? Unless I am not understanding the list. Could they sign him to an AHL contract to finish the year?

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    I just buzzed over to Leaf Nation and Canuck Army. Slow going over there.
    So this farmers league, could you write an article on that LT? I hear its the bomb. The Oilers would kill for a chance to compete in said league. Alas, we didn’t qualify, again.

  • How does the ‘Clear Day’ roster play into this? Can he only play on a PTO or does it even matter? Was Eberle listed on that roster over the last couple seasons?
    My understanding is that we have until June to sign him, correct? I assume this is just a technicality.

    Edit: that seems to be a lot of questions… sorry.

  • Lowetide


    This is off topic but I just got my season seat renewal and omark,hall,horc,eberle,paarjarvi and habby are featured. No hemsky or penner do you think this is a tell about his future with the club? Maybe his legendary meeting with Katz went more like “Hemmer play your hardest and we will trade you to a desired destination for being a good soldier”. It makes me believe they are going to trade him.

    • Lowetide

      That does seem weird. Personally, I think Hemsky gets dealt but only after the try to sign him and even then maybe they don’t deal him until the deadline.

      Hemsky’s value might be way higher with a healthy 11-12 season, so the Oilers might be able to get a bundle for him.

      Of course, he could be injured again.

  • Well I believe that Lander should play in OKC for the remainder of the season. Yet I have this nagging feeling that our friend Anton Lander needs to be playing with big guys as a third line center between Omark and Paajarvi seeing as though 2 swedes can result in something like that I’m 99.9% positive that 3 would be better. As for the 3 scoring lines and a shut down type line, I think we have too much skill now and in the future to be wasted on fighter/we-don’t -help -the-team-productively lineso in all fairness our “4th” should be just as skilled as our second. The D is in charge of stopping the momentum of the opposition, the forwards is to score. If we were able to play a fourth type line that competes with teams second or even first lines, the away game factor would never come into play. Now as for the D being too expensive, how much do you think Pecham will be asking for? Not more then what is necessary. I’m not saying we should have 6 Peckhams but I a m saying that is what D do that is supposed to be their primary goal. SHUTDOWN. This is why O believ Teubert was traded for, the organization has BIG plans for him and when he turns out to be that top four (4) d-man, look out because that’s what you need for any chance in the playoffs. We need in your face defencemen that get in your head.

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate

    @OilersG and Roughneck,

    Killam would totally give them a run, I think Viking, Hardisty or even Amisk would be the ones to beat. I should know, I grew up in Killam. notice my homerism…though the Oil already have a connection to my place of birth, Daysland (Richard Petiot is from there too).

    justthestatsman, you do NOT want to play the Castor Raiders, them farmboys sure are some mean sumbitches.

  • Lowetide

    I like the idea of Lander in the bigs down the stretch. He isn’t on the list for playoff eligible OKC players, so I doubt he goes there and takes time away from someone who will have to play in the playoffs.

    Put him with his Swede countrymen in the big show and see what they can do. It won’t affect his first year, since I believe you need 20 games at the big league level to burn a year of your entry level contract. Him and MPS will actually play in their own zone, so while Omark is no defensive wizard, they can be the new NHL 3rd line (ala Detroit) who can play in their own zone, but who control the puck and create offense against other teams weaker defensive lines.


    Funny, but a veteran with size, two way skills and the ability to score 30 goals would look really nice on that top line. sigh…..

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Like they said on the radio today, guys are fighting for spots and if Fraser doesn’t up his game why should he think he deserves a spot?

  • derrickhands

    LT I could be wrong but the reports on Lander was that he had to improve his skating if he was going to compete in the NHL. So were does Bob McKenzie get the idea the Lander had excellent speed. Also from the stats you could say that Lander had a bad year. From having a 60-70% face-off average midway through the season to having a less then 50% average at the end. Then ending with a -13 +/- rating at the end of the year, what happened. You could almost compare his season to Chris Vande Velde. Except Vande Velde always play on the checking line, his face-off % is still around 60-70%. The only difference you could say is their age.

    • NastyNate

      Being the assistant captain of an SEl team at age 20, the captain of arguably the best team at this years wjc and leading them in points. He was 2 inches from carrying his team into the final. Drafted 40th overall with, 4 professional seasons under his belt. I’d day this kid is special and letting him walk would be a HUGE mistake

      • Peterborough

        Here here. We just drafted this kid. Did you see him at the WJC? The emotion in his face when they lost? This kid hates losing. Lets at least wait till next year before we make him taste a whole lot of it.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        The Swedish Elite League is over rated. It’s the fact that it’s been almost two years and he hasn’t signed yet that has me thinking he’s not worth the hassle. Is he waiting for the Oilers to pencil him in on the third line for a whole year?

        The kid should take what’s offered, if he’s any good, renewel will address his obvious biggest concern.

  • NastyNate

    Lander is not on the Clear Day roster. He can’t play in the AHL this season. Its Edmonton or nothing. Unless he plays for Sweden at the World Championships.