Anton Lander’s North American hockey career has not gone as planned, but there are some signs that he might be turning the corner in OKC. Part of his success? A little help from his "Nordic" friends.


I’m not really sure what they do in these Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and sometimes Greenland–except Neighbor and Weigh) but they sure do love their hockey–and for three Oiler farmhands familiarity may be the key.

Anton Lander (Sweden), Toni Rajala (Finland) and Teemu Hartikainen (also Finland) have found chemistry in the American south and are hoping to parlay it to NHL employment. Rajala is the late addition (Magnus Paajarvi–another Swede–was the early LW during the lockout portion of this past season) to the line and has sparked the offense in a big way.

Anton Lander has overcome injury and added offense in OKC (in a small sample size) for the first time since he arrived in North America.

Lander’s offense during the regular season (47, 9-11-20) is exactly what I projected back in the summer. In the post-season, when healthy Lander has been splendid (7, 5-3-8). The problem isn’t the last 7 games, it’s the previous 75 in the AHL (12-17-29)–that’s a pretty good sample and offensively it leaves Lander on the outside of an NHL career every time.

He did have one solid SEL season (49, 11-15-26 in 2010-11) but hasn’t been able to build on that year in his two years in North America.


I think we have enough evidence to suggest Anton Lander’s NHL career (should he have one) will be as a defensive center–4th line and penalty kill. I do think we can make an argument that his handling since arriving in North America has been chaotic–his NHL time showed some promise in the PK department but very little offensively. 

Sooner or later you develop a past, and for prospects the entry level deal is a big part of the resume. Lander’s negatives–poor offense, injury, inexperience–have now been heightened by the fact the new GM has no connection or loyalty to him. His time in the NHL–too soon by plenty–may see him passed over as a prospect  in a strange ‘guilt by association’ scenario. 

The best thing for him? Assume that solid SEL season and this most recent run in the AHL are real, give him a full season with some skill players in the AHL, and see how things look a year from now. 

Many felt Magnus Paajarvi was a bust one year ago–his resume enjoyed a solid uptick this season. Anton Lander’s may do the same this year. The young man from the Kingdom of Sweden badly needs another season in the American South. 

With a pair of Nordic’s, apparently. 

  • LinkfromHyrule

    Looking at ok city in playoffs do we have our third line center right under our nose.
    Arcobello has 12 goals and is second in points in AHL playoffs .He finished fourth in scoring in regular season.
    He deserves a better look than the one game he got last year

    • Reg Dunlop

      3rd line centre? At 5’9″ 165lbs he will have to buy a ticket to ever be involved with the NHL. The days of small players being significantly faster and quicker than big players are over. It’s unfair that players like Chara can turn on a dime while in the past the big guys had to execute a 3-point turn.

      Lander, or a player of his ilk(decent size, wheels and gumption) could have a bottom 6 role here. Lack of scoring is irrelevant if others pick up the slack and if the player is exceptional at either checking the opposition to a standstill or aggravating them to distraction. The idea of a shadow never took off here, maybe because cling-ons shadowing #99 were vilified; but a player like Steve Kasper or Billy Carrol would have value far beyond his box cars. Shutting down Getzlaf or Thorton or Henrik Sedin next year will lead to more oil wins than a few more 3rd line goals will.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    I think if anything will be Lander’s nail in the coffin, it will be because of macT’s “must be a threat every night” mantra. That being said, I think Lander and several other players from OKC deserve a good hard look at this year’s training camp. Hopefully he will earn a spot if he can show any glimmer of hope offensively

  • Spydyr

    Let’s hope the Oilers have finally advanced enough as a team to actually groom players in the minors a few years.Instead of awarding jobs six months before training camp(klefbom).For the last few years the team seems to have been picked before camp even opens.Not many players have earned their way on or off the team in camp.

    The Detroit’s of the league season their players in the AHL. The Oilers of the league push players into the NHL before they are ready.

    One team has not missed the playoffs in decades the other has not made the playoffs in seven years.Coincidence I don’t think so.

  • LinkfromHyrule

    Yea, I think its pretty safe to say Lander projects as a 4th line center at the NHL. At least he is a guy that has potential to fill that role.

    I can’t see where a guy like Hartikainen will slot in as he can’t score, can’t defend, and doesn’t have much of a physical presence at the NHL level.

    Lander however seems to have the upside to be something at the NHL level even if it is limited. And sometimes those guys that put in the defence work first surprise offensively down the road ala Burrows.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i like the Lander pick in the 2nd round, but wasn’t he ranked much lower than where he was picked? might? explain why he’s taking a while to develop. i’m hoping Rajala is the real thing and, despite his smallish size, would welcome giving him a chance to make the NHL squad. i’m still not convinced that Harti will score points in the NHL and he might be doomed to be a 4th liner as well as Lander. and i’m hoping the Oil can score another couple of Nordic players in this upcoming draft. (like Jacob de la Rose and Juuse Saros perhaps?)

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    As long as hes a below average skater and faceoff winner he may be on the outside looking in. He’s a tweener. Not enough offence to play up in the lineup. To small, and lacks certain skillsets to be effective long term in your bottom six.

    • LinkfromHyrule

      you never know, if he improved his DYNAMICS and subscribed to the New Age System, working laterally and longitudinally with gretzky and messier as his coaching tandem he could go on to win the Stanley cup, the superbowl, and the world cup as a first line center. Communication will be key, but I know he can do it.

      • LinkfromHyrule

        Ha ha ha ha,nicely done.

        Just tell Anton to bring his homework to Moma2 and he will get all the help he needs.He will learn how to optimise his learning method and expediate his evolution as a player by a significant margin.

        The NHS will help him pass his Oilers tests every time with higher than average marks.

        In fact any player can do the same thing and find a superior level of sucess.Its all in the translation,ha ha ha.

        Communication is key,you are right my semi-sarcastic pal,but the trick is to condense exponential conceptual value into abbreviated verbal exchange and optimise its transfer under all situational dynamic boundaries,that is the single biggest core value concept you need to address.There is only one OPTIMAL way to accomplish this,of that we can be sure,the trick is incorporating this superior communications platform seamlessly into your existing one.

        The optimal method is an Intuition based system,or a cerebrally catalysed system.

        The best way to illustrate what an Intuit can do is to get your hands dirty and find an unslovable problem being addressed by the entire braintust,just add the Intuit and start the camera because you are in for a show.

        An Intuit can Visualise and conceptualise the way every single individual will interpret and process incoming data,an accurate dynamic template of the persons learning method is immediatly revealed to an Intuit,it is like a regular person looking at each face and recognising it as being different and it happens at EXACTLY the same SPEED as that visual/cerebral recognition process.

        The process also applies to outgoing data and the intended target coneptualisation the individual is aiming for in relation to his percieved group dynamic position.

        I see visually every thought each person throws at the problem as clearly as if they were throwing darts at it in front of me,I see every miss and every hit.I dont even need intimate knowledge of the subject or field I am dealing with,my sucess is dependant on the quality of input being focused on the problem by the group,I translate and magnify the groups cerebral intentions into a natural and sequentially correct pattern,they define its parameters for me,not the other way around.I do this as fast as you recognise faces in a group.

        I bring em together,and they do the rest,with superior results every time,it is called utilising Intuitive Dynamic Analysis and Managment tactics,simply put.

        The NewAge Hockey System teaches players to learn how to think like this coming from a conventional perpsective.It teaches them how to find the right page all the time on-the-fly.By learning to define and read dynamic templates,which apply to everything they do in their lives,they just dont recognise it.


        You liked the bio didnt you,interesting isnt it?Please valuate yourself and this site more accurately,you are really in the company of greatness here,and you belong here.You can accept this reward cant you?Did you like the reply to the King of France comment?I chuckle every time I think of you trying to process the data in its entirity,ha ha ha ha.It really is to much isnt it?Ha ha ha ha.Yes,truth really is stranger than fiction isnt it pal?ha ha ha.

  • As much as we all want every prospect to turn out and many people grow attachments to players as we watch them develop; Neither Acrobello, or Rajala are what the Oilers need.

    They are at best call up options to cover for injuries for the Oil. The best case scenario is that they show well enough to create some trade value to a team that is lacking skill. Hartikainan is a project, but at least he has the size to warrant the wait.

    At 165 LBS and 163 LBS for a 24 and 22 yr old, they have done most of their growing and even most of their filling out. The Oil are a small soft team, and unless these players are better than our top 6 players they don’t fit on this team. I would be looking to trade them for draft picks or in a package for established players.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Good read today LT,

    I agree with that Lander needs a top line situation with the Barons for a full year and without injuries to complicate matters….

    His line now in these AHL playoffs, with him as centre between Harti and Rajala, is performing very strongly and they are now in game 7 to get to the finals and this will prove another level performance if the Barons win tonight.

    When in the lineup right now in the playoffs his scoring is very good, as compared to season stats so far.

    I can see Lander, who is not smallish, as the next 3rd line centre for the Oilers….not the fourth. If his NHL seasonal offence can rise to about 40 pts at least while being an effective penalty kill forward, then he is a definite asset after Horcoff goes. Hias faceoff skills are decent and even still, better than Gagner and RNH at this time.

    In effect, I think the Oilers should upgrade at centre now at the 2nd line (with by getting a Monahan/Barkov or Horvat and by trading Gagner)and also at the 4th line…..with by getting a Kyle Chipchura type player who can move up to 3rd line at any notice.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Are the Oiler’s projected to be in the 6-7-8-9 -10 in 2013-14?

    To get to 2-3-4-5 ranking we really need some of our prospects to deliver in the NHL on a entry level or RFA contract. We will not attract the big UFA and we might have to overpay to get any talent to play here (khabi type contract)

    So lets play Teubert, Harti and Lander in the NHL next year if they don’t progress we might have missed our window because we have had losing teams and burnt entry level contract while losing.