Got him. Need him. Got him. Need him. What fan worth his salt hasn’t played that game while sifting through a fistful of hockey cards with a buddy at some point as a kid?
We played the "Want him" end of that with Edmonton Oilers chief scout Stu MacGregor last week by discussing many of the top prospects for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft with items on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Adam Larsson, Sean Couturier, Gabriel Landeskog and Jonathan Huberdeau.
MacGregor and I also covered some the "Got him" ground by talking about two players already drafted by the Oilers — Swedish forward Anton Lander and Finnish winger Teemu Hartikainen.
We saw Hartikainen, 21, who was selected 163rd overall in 2008, for a 12-game stint with the Oilers at the end of the season and he impressed pretty much everybody.
Lander, 20, taken 40th overall in 2009, just inked a three-year entry level contract with the Oilers after his fourth season with Timra of the SEL and will attend training camp with the Oilers next September.
Here’s MacGregor’s take on both of them.
MacGregor doesn’t often lavish praise on a player because he’d rather under-sell and over-deliver as opposed to the other way around, but he really likes what he’s seen of Lander.
"I didn’t see him much this year other than at the World Junior (Championship), but in his draft year I saw him six or eight times," said MacGregor. "I probably saw him that many times again last year. This year, I saw him four times or something.
"He’s got something we don’t have and that’s that innate hockey sense. He’s a special guy in lots of ways."
A lot of people, MacGregor included, expect Lander to be in the bottom six mix at centre not too far down the road. Lander tallied 11-15-26 and had 38 penalty minutes with Timra in 49 games this season.
"He’s not going to wow you with unbelievable skill, but he’s going to make you go, ‘Wow, that was a great play,’ and ‘Wow, he broke that play up and moved the puck’ and ‘Wow, that was a key goal.’ It’s just a consistent game and on and on and on," MacGregor said.
"He’ll be a real good third-line centre who might have a chance to be a second-line centre. Will they send him to Oklahoma City for a little while? Maybe. That’ll depend what they do this summer."
Hartikainen looked right at home in Edmonton silks after spending most of his first North American season with the Oklahoma City Barons of the AHL, scoring 17-25-42 in 66 games.
"He’s one of those guys we don’t have," MacGregor said of Hartikainen. "They’re hard on the puck. They take it to the net. They make it happen.
"They’re strong on the puck and hard to play against in the corners." Every bit the six-foot-one and 215 pounds he’s listed at, Hartikainen played with a physical edge and showed some nice hands around the net with the Oilers, scoring 3-2-5 in his dozen games. A lot of people already have the big Finn pencilled in as a third-liner next season.
"He’s got the hockey sense and he’s got the ability to chip in some goals and just be a really good player," MacGregor said.
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.