It’s been tough watching Anton Lander struggle this season. After notching 11 points at even-strength in 38 games last season, plus 10 more points on the powerplay, it appeared that the young prospect was finally turning a corner in his NHL career. Unfortunately for him, this season has been a disaster. He’s definitely not playing at the level he was at under Todd Nelson and, to my eye, hasn’t been involved in as many offensive zone plays. I thought he had more of a presence in front of the net last season and looked a lot more assertive with and without the puck. Diving into the numbers from War on Ice, we see that he isn’t generating as many shots or scoring chances compared to last season, and hasn’t had a positive impact on team possession. What should keep him on the roster is his very manageable contract, his ability to play center and win draws, and his ability to draw penalties (where he ranks 5th in the league in penalty differential).
As bad as Lander has struggled, Mark Letestu hasn’t been that much better. He has seen his ice time increase significantly with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins out of the lineup, yet he only has six points at even-strength all season. His point production per 60 minutes is a paltry 0.61, ahead of only Lander and Luke Gazdic among Oiler forwards this season (Appendix A).
Full article is at The Copper & Blue.