FTHM ENCORE: HARSKI AND LANDER

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.

ON LANDER

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."

ON HARTIKAINEN

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.

  • Later round steals, both of these. Stu not only picks high end skill guys well, he picks 3rd and 4th liners too. Stu is a stud.
    Lander seems like he would fit right in on the Detroit Red Wings 3rd line someday, a 2 way guy that can play in all 3 zones. Just my impression. Instead of signing our 3rd and 4th liners, we may end up drafting them all. Any news on Rajala, the missing piece?

    • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

      I am far more impressed with the later picks than taking Hall #1 that was almost a no loose. If the Oilers are to ever become a team to be constantly reckoned with It will Be Stu whom gets us there. Why you may ask? Because when we start drafting late on a constant basis finding a Pavel Datsyuk 171st over all. Will matter a whole lot more that drafting well #1 overall. With Stu we will win!OR lose!

  • YFC Prez

    Lander coming out of the woodwork and the likely drafting of Hopkins sure makes this teams lousy depth a center look a little better. I have only ever read good things about the Lander kid “smart two way player who makes good plays with and without the puck”. But does anyone know about his faceoffs, I really hope he can win a draw or two.

  • “He’s got something we don’t have”. “He’s one of those guys we don’t have”. What a horribly disturbing trend.
    But on the plus side, those are the type of guys we DO have now, thankfully, and at least someone in the front office can see the glaring holes.

    I think I’m almost more excited to see what Hartikainen can do than I am to see just how God-like Taylor Hall can get. Is it September yet?

    *Does not actually want to skip over summer*

    Also, when does the Stu MacGregor statue go up? Just waiting for the new arena or……

    • You’re going to hear more of that as the undersized, “skilled” forwards get pushed for roster spots by bigger, more physical players like Hartikainen and, down the road, Pitlick and Martindale etc.

      And I’m going to do a seven-part series on plans for a MacGregor statue . . .

  • Yeah I wonder whats goin on with Rajala..could he be another Omark? If yes..lets give him OKC next year, roster spot the year after..with alot of the bigger sized Center Prospects coming in..Oilers can afford to dress a small, gritty, skilled guy like Rajala and Omark on the same team..

      • Seriously....Gord?

        DSF
        Oh, good grief.
        Picking Hall, Eberle and Paajarvi (a questionable pick) was chimp work. There isn’t one MBS pick outside the gimmes that is playing in the NHL yet.

        My god DSF,

        Do you enjoy looking like an idiot?

        If Ebs was put back in the draft today, where would he be? Top 5 probably, perhaps even 3rd. So how is it chimp work when, let’s say 17-19 teams passed him by.

        MPS is questionable? Plante is questionable….MPS delivered this year.

        Hall…yes…a 50/50 chance…but still it was the right choice.

  • Mitch

    Just a perdiction Lander will be a second line centre between Paajarvi and Omark, I don’t feel it’s a bold perdiction this guy can play, he’s the real thing. Pittlick, Hamilton, Marincin, Bunz..There is clearly something being built here, this will be the real thing and I didn’t mention Hall, Eberle, MPS another #1.

  • While I think last year’s second round picks look very good at this time, I wonder if Macgregor is so good, why didn’t he stop the Oilers from drafting Plante and Riley Nash? He wasn’t the head of scouting but he was the whl scout at the time and Plante was a major reach , as was Nash who was in the bchl. Did Prendergast love them to the dismay of Macgregor or did Stu recommend them?

    Before we build the statue I would love to get the answer to the background on who picked those duds.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Looks pretty promising for the bottom 6. If we could only have the top 6 bursting at the seams we should be okay.

    Wasn’t overly impressed with Weber during the Canucks series, have to think Suter is their best defenceman perhaps. Felt a little bad for the Preds as the series wore on. They are in dire need of a legitimate top line if they’re going to go any further. Don’t think they even have one player to fit a top 3 role on that club. Heard Weber has a three yr deal all but signed with the Preds, next up, Keith Yandle?

    • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

      You’re not the only one taking notice to what Suter brings to Weber’s game.

      I would cut ST’s thumbs off if he “offer sheeted” him!

  • Pilgor09

    @RobinRussia:

    Players that I’d take before Eberle:
    Stamkos, Doughty, Pietrangelo, Schenn, Myers, Karlsson, Carlson and possibly Ennis/Sbisa.

    So that would put him at around 10.

    • Lyxdeslic

      Sbisa?? Really? You left out Bogosian but put in Sbisa as a possibility?

      And im not complaining, getting a top 10 guy at 22nd is still a major steal, atta boy Stu!

      Ps. I would take Eberle over Ennis, Karlsson, Carlson and possibly even Myers. As a long shot, i might even take him over Schenn (im biased, im not a fan of either Schenn bro at all) I think Eberle will evolve into an elite nhler who will put up some numbers.

      • Pilgor09

        Sbisa was a top 4 dman on a playoff team. Bogosian is a healthy scratch some nights on a lottery team. Carlson, and Myers will b e top defenders in this league in 3-5 years. Maybe over Schenn and I’m sure Buffalo fans would take Ennis over Eberle. I guess it’s just personal preference that’s why I said maybe.

        I’ve always seen Eberle as a solid 30g-30a 2 way player. Patrick Sharp-esque.

        • Lyxdeslic

          The thing about Sbisa is he has Getzlaff, Perry, Ryan, Selanne, Koivu, Blake, Fowler, Visnovsky, Macmillan, sometimes Hiller (just to name a few) on his team…. they probably could make the playoffs without him. Bogosian has jack all for playoff hopes.

          I agree with the Eberle comparison, guess its preference because i personally would want a Canadian Patty Kane over a solid Dman (notice i said solid…not a super-human Doughty)

        • Lyxdeslic

          The thing about Sbisa is he has Getzlaff, Perry, Ryan, Selanne, Koivu, Blake, Fowler, Visnovsky, Macmillan, sometimes Hiller (just to name a few) on his team…. they probably could make the playoffs without him. Bogosian has jack all for playoff hopes.

          I agree with the Eberle comparison, guess its preference because i personally would want a Canadian Patty Kane over a solid Dman (notice i said solid…not a super-human Doughty)

  • derrickhands

    Didn’t Landers play nose dive towards the end the season. Once they placed him on the top line his defensive play disappeared and his F/O percentage drop below 50%. I also heard that he was playing a little on the wing some games. Most likely he’ll end up in OK for a couple of years, he’ll have to improve his skating if he’s going to make the NHL.

  • Ender

    SMB isn’t our head scout because of his good looks. There will be mistakes made. Picks that do not pan out. Picks that never sign. And so on. Drafting a player is no gaurantee of anything other than that you now own the rights to negotiate with that player. SMB’s short term record is pretty good. SMB has provided us the fans with players who we’ll watch for years to come. Long term. When all is said and done we’ll see if we need to ask SMB if he would like his statue in marble or bronze. Till then I’ll sit back and enjoy Hall, MPS and Eberle light up the NHL for years to come.

  • misfit

    I really like what I’ve seen from Hartikainen, but I think 3rd line LW next year might be a little ambitious. Especially if you want your 3rd line to be the one to line up against the other team’s best players night in and night out. His skating just isn’t good enough for that kind of role, IMO. I say you put him on a line that’s going to spend most of its time in the offensive zone where he can wear down defenders and create havoc in front of the net.

  • striker777

    I hate when kids are predicted to play on a 3rd or 4th line by hockey “experts”. Tom Renney should be telling these kids it’s up to them to show what they can do, and ONLY THEIR PLAY will determine which line they end up on. Imagine if Pavel Datsuyk was constantly told “hey, we drafted you in the 5th round, so, you can only play on the 4th line, kid” ?

  • striker777

    Looks like some nice depth down the middle comming up,especially after the entry draft.The writing is on the wall for Gags and I wager he has a breakout season for 2011/12.

    • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

      I feel kind of bad for him because he was the Atlas who was supposed to carry the OilNation on his back after we drafted him and after a fairly strong rookie campain. However, his progression has stalled big time for the past 3 seasons.

      At first, I kept thinking to myself “wow he gets pushed off the puck REALLY easily… that’s ok because he’s a rookie”. The problem is this is season 4 and he is the exact same player.

      I mean, he hasn’t developed at all. Same style and he is still horrid on the face off dot. He has ONE more chance to make this work for him or he’s gone. What the hell am I going to do with a hat signed by Sam Gagner if he moved teams?!?!

      On the other hand, YAY to upcoming depth up the middle…

  • fuck off

    Gagner and Horcoff are two completely different players so to expect similar production isn’t valid. But I agree with one aspect a 60+ point season would be a breakout year for him. But it’s more than point production. If he can find a way to shed a little more weight and become more agile and explosive that would do wonders for his game. I always saw him as a poor man’s Pat Kane as he and his former Knight teammate play very similar styles except Kane is much much better at it.

    Also what are the possibilities of playing Hartikainen with Omark as I heard they had unbelievable chemistry for Oklahoma.

  • striker777

    I will tell you one thing,when were in game 7 for the holy grail Eberle will be there.The guy is MONEY when the game is on the line.How about all those you would have drafted ahead of him?