Some reasons to believe in Anton Lander

After a pretty brutal 2015/16 season, where he only scored one goal and notched two assists, Anton Lander has a lot to prove to Oiler fans. He was coming off of a pretty good 2014/15 season, when he was promoted to Edmonton from Oklahoma City after Todd Nelson became interim head coach, scoring six goals and finishing the season with 20 points in 38 games. Expectations were certainly raised last summer when he was rewarded with a two-year, one-way contract extension that would pay him $925K in the first year and $1.05 million in the second ($987,500 AAV), and a very good showing at the 2015 World Championships where he played on the top line for Sweden.

One thing to consider is that of the 20 points he scored in 2014/15, 9 were on the powerplay, which was clicking at a very high rate with Todd Nelson behind the bench. With McLellan behind the bench, Lander did not get nearly as much ice time with the man advantage, and understandably so: the lineup was healthier than the 2014/15 team and the additions of McDavid and Draisaitl were going to push players like Lander off of the powerplay. Regardless, Lander’s respectable 1.49 points/60 at even-strength was sixth among Oiler forwards who played at least 400 minutes in 2014/15 (12 forwards total). What was also promising were his possession numbers over those 38 games. Below is how he ranked among Oiler forwards with at least 400 minutes of ice time. (Source: Hockey Analysis)

Lander finished the season with a +1.2 Corsi For percentage relative to teammates, which ranked him behind top six forwards like Hall, Eberle, RNH and Pouliot. Lander’s two most common linemates that season were Matt Fraser and Andrew Miller, both of which are fringe players today. Lander did spend 93 minutes with Hall as well, which would absolutely give his numbers a boost. When it came to the rate of generating shot attempts (i.e., Corsi For/60), Lander finished third on the team with a +3.80 Corsi For/60 relative to teammates, but ranked 8th on the team when it to the rate of shot attempts against.

Lander20152016

Fast forward to the 2015/16 season, and Lander’s productivity when it came to point production falls off of a cliff, as he finished the season with a 0.33 points/60 at even-strength, which was last on the team among forwards who played at least 500 minutes, and fourth last in the entire NHL. But when it came to his possession numbers relative to his teammates, Lander did not fare too badly.

Full article is at The Copper & Blue.

 

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