Anton Lander and Oscar Klefbom recalled

51-Lander-1

Well, that was fast. On Saturday, the Edmonton Oilers recalled Oscar Klefbom and Anton Lander from the Oklahoma City Barons.

The emergency recall requires the Oilers to be below a roster of 12 healthy forwards (in the case of Lander) and six healthy defencemen (in the case of Klefbom). That’s not a hard bar for the Oilers to reach, as they had only 12 healthy forwards and six healthy defenceman post-deadline. Article 13.12 (m)(ii) of the CBA allows the league to ask for proof of emergency circumstances if there’s any suspicion otherwise.

As for the recalls, both of these players are guys that the Oilers have great interest in seeing at the NHL level.

Lander is a player who hasn’t been overly impressive in a depth role in the NHL but who has really taken a stride forward in the AHL this year. He’s scoring at better than a point-per-game pace and appears to have evolved into an elite two-way pivot, at least at the minor league level. 

There’s a belief within the organization that Lander may be a significantly better player than he’s shown to date in the majors, and given that he’s in his final year of waiver exemption the organization needs to determine whether that is in fact the case. It wouldn’t be a surprise, therefore, if he were to play above the fourth line during this major-league stint. 

Klefbom

Oscar Klefbom

As for Klefbom, there are a lot of parallels with Martin Marincin. Klefbom, like Marincin, has a big frame and exceptional skating, but if anything he’s perhaps a little faster than Marincin and he certainly plays a heavier game (while Marincin is tall but rail-thin, Klefbom is playing at north of 215 pounds this year). The flip side is that Klefbom’s had a steep North American learning curve this year, and while he’s made major progress his reads still need some work. 

But some of the same things could have been said about Marincin, and his physical talents have made him arguably Edmonton’s best defenceman since his recall. The hope, obviously, is that Klefbom can make the same jump and that his raw talent will make up for any deficiencies owing to inexperience. 

That Klefbom, and not Taylor Fedun, was the recall choice likely suggests an organizational view that Fedun isn’t likely to evolve into an everyday NHL player, whereas Klefbom’s ceiling is significantly higher. Testing Klefbom now gives them an idea of his readiness for next season and will certainly inform where he slots into the depth chart next fall. 

Importance

Craig MacTavish9

These are extremely important recalls, and the ramifications are likely to be greater than they would be normally. The Oilers are done this season, and the decision to recall Lander and Klefbom over Arcobello and Fedun is almost certainly related to a desire to establish where the former players fit into next year’s plans. 

Edmonton already knows what Arcobello is, and fairly or not seem to have made up their collective mind on Fedun, too (multiple people within the organization have told me that Fedun is likely to top out as the ‘tweener he is right now). 

That isn’t true for Lander, whose AHL performance has dictated another look. The door is open right now for a long-term NHL role with the Oilers; it’s now up to the coaching staff to put him in a position to succeed and to Lander to take advantage of the opportunity. Lander’s waiver eligibility next season means that the window between now and the end of the year might be his last, best chance to grab an NHL job.

Klefbom isn’t under the same level of pressure, because there’s lots more road ahead of him, but competition for the rookie jobs on the Oilers’ blue line is fierce. Even with a relatively weak defence corps, there is only so much room for young players, and with Marincin reasonably established and others like Darnell Nurse and perhaps even Aaron Ekblad entering the picture, the time for Klefbom to impress is now. He can help his chances of making the jump next season much easier with a strong showing here. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Czar

    The players we have in the AHL have excelled. Might I suggest that this has to be the way they are being utilized and coached.

    I do not trust Eakins to utilize and play these players according to their strengths…….if fact his approach has been to expose player weaknesses and then tell the world they can’t play defense.

    The differences between the Eakins and Nelson are that players want to play for Nelson. He belongs in the NHL.

    • dougtheslug

      Rama,I know your inclination all season long has been that Eakins not the guy! I wasn’t earlier on, but lately I am thinking this guys needs to go,
      along with the other stooges behind the bench.
      Nobody talks, no pats on the back and almost zero communications.

      Lets say that he would get let go, Who would be a likely canidate?

      PS:. Also not saying the player dont need a kick in the behind, but they look like they q

      • dougtheslug

        I say pick someone like Nelson. The guy deserves a shot maybe not as a head coach but at least an associate.

        I would love to see a established NHL coach get a chance and let that coach pick all his assistants.

        Your comments on the coach never charging his team up is bang on the mark……..rolling your eyes over and over again like Eakins does send the wrong message to the players.

        • Sevenseven

          I’m inclined to wait and see what MacT does this summer. I believe that the rest of the coaching staff will change. Instead of going through a coach a year I would rather see the focus on building a team that can compete. If we have those pieces here and we are still losing, then I would be more inclined to fire Eakins.

          • Bucknuck

            What has Eakins done this year that inspires your confidence? If there was one metric that is trending in the right direction I too would like to give him another chance.

            But the last time I checked, we were regressing in every aspect of the game……..maybe not goaltending now but everything else!

  • Czar

    @Willis

    Again, we’re in agreement. One way deals boil down to money especially when it comes to a player who’s expected to play on the fourth line. I already brought up the points about concerns of attitude and work ethic, so unwillingness to give a one way deal comes down to unwillingness to dish the money to someone who hadn’t fully proven himself. Ergo, he chased the money when it wasn’t going to be given to him.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    So Jonathan,

    Who sits out at center to allow Lander in the line-up.Smyth (that would make the most sense) or Gagner? Kind of a win-win situation here! Either way, I like it!

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    So much hype around Klefbom…

    I’m looking forward to seeing what this kid can do. Judging from his interviews, he seems like a really positive, hard-working kid. Hopefully he’s as advertised, and doesn’t get injured again.

  • camdog

    I thought Hartki and Rajula jumped at the opportunity to play elsewhere. Didn’t know the organization willfully let them go. First time I have heard that one…

  • dougtheslug

    OK, maybe I’m one of those Oiler fans that overvalues players on the roster but, it seems to me Arcobellos numbers in the AHL are pretty hard to ignore, even with the small sample size.

    OK, there aren’t many Martin St. Louis’ in the world but I can’t help comparing their numbers and development histories and seeing eery parallels. And the AHL in which Arco is putting up crazy numbers is way better than the AHL of the 1990’s when St.Louis was playing there. And St. Louis never put up those kinds of numbers. (OK, small sample size for Arco this year, but still…)

    JW, tell me I’m crazy to think this way and I’ll shut up.

    • I think Mark Arcobello, at least as long as he plays the way he has this season, is an NHL player.

      How good is he? I think it’s a real stretch to ask anybody to be Martin St. Louis. We all saw what Arcobello did when he got top-six minutes, though, and he looked a lot like a guy who could play them.

      • Word to the Bird

        I don’t know about you, but I’d feel more comfortable giving Arcobello meaningful minutes in the show than Lander. Isn’t Arcobello a UFA this upcoming offseason? Maybe Arcobello cod take the 2C spot, while Lander takes the 3C spot until the end of the season?

  • Serious Gord

    Willis, those people weren’t wrong. Hartikainen probably did have a spot on the fourth line that was his to lose. He just wanted more money than he hadn’t proved to be worth and rather than cater to a greedy guy with a poor attitude and work ethic, they brought in what they thought was a suitable replacement Finn in JJ.

    Hey look, if Lander wants to pull a Hartikainen then I’m sure the organization can and will replace him too. I think, however, that Lander’s personality is nothing like Hartikainen’s and that he’s willing to do what it takes to prove himself and not just chase the dollar around. We’ve seen what chasing the money does for young players who haven’t proved themselves at the NHL level. Ask Omark how that worked out for him as an NHL player long term.

  • Retsinnab5

    What the hell, this isn’t Lander’s last chance. Anyone who thinks that is on crack. The fourth line center spot is his to lose next season.

    This is the kind of move you make when you want to take really productive, effective, and hard working players in the AHL up to the big club that doesn’t feel like doing any of those things and hoping they can help lead the charge. It rewards them with a couple NHL pay cheques and it gives them recent memories and drive to work hard in the off-season knowing what to look forward to next year if they can force the team to keep them with their superior play.

    • I seem to recall people making similar comments about Teemu Hartikainen last spring. The organization decided then and there what his role in the future was going to be; ultimately they let him go to Russia and then traded him to Toronto for almost nothing.

      • Czar

        I think Anton is a leader and someone the coaches rely on, has bought in to the system and knows his role. I recall reports of Temmu having to be motivated and struggled to fill the role expected of him in OKC.

        I’ll be alot more upset to see Lander go than I was Temmu. Even just going by draft ranking and team need,it makes more sense to have Lander resign and be given a legitimate shot next year.

  • Czar

    Hope it’s not the last chance for Lander. With our depth at center how can MacT not sign him? Give the kid a real shot, what more does he have to prove in the AHL?

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      i agree that this is likely the last chance for Lander. if he is given a spot on the top scoring lines and doesn’t produce, i could easily see him being traded at the draft. i think this does indeed mean the end for Fedun and possibly Arco as well.