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Future Watch: Anton Lander

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers
Anton Lander takes a quick breather at this past July's development camp in Edmonton.

With the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship set to kick off in a matter of days in Buffalo, New York, Oilers fans will be blessed with the opportunity to watch one of Edmonton’s most unheralded prospects take to the ice in search of international supremacy.

Drafted in the second round, 40th overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, 19-year old Anton Lander says being a part of the Edmonton Oilers organization is something truly special.

"My dream has always been to play in the NHL, so it was amazing just to get drafted. And then a team like the Oilers, with such history and everything around the team, it was amazing. I’m very lucky."

It was this dream that has helped him build such incredible confidence and mature responsibility in his game. After having participated in this past July’s development camp in Edmonton, to which he described as "a lot of fun and a great learning experience," Lander returned to Sweden for another full season with Timra IK.

Lander is currently enjoying another fantastic season with Timra, with a strong two-way game being the highlight of this vital development year.  While offence is certainly a plus given the dynamic of the league, Lander’s defensive play continues to be a strong point as he pushes toward a career in the NHL. In only 30 games this season, Lander has recorded seven goals and 14 points as he looks to shatter his totals from a season ago (seven goals and 16 points in 49 games).

"I try to play a two-way game," Lander said. "Both offence and defence are important, so being strong in both areas is very important to me."

While he recognizes his strengths, Lander is certainly not oblivious to his deficiencies and what needs further development before he begins his career in North America.

"Improvement-wise, I think I need to work on my skating. I want to be faster, because that will help me on the ice in a big way. You can never work on these things enough. It’s a part of the game that can always be improved."

Further development in his skating would only add to an already explosive two-way arsenal. Lander boasts a variety of skills that signal maturity beyond his years. Excellent hockey sense, combined with strength on the puck, defensive awareness and strong talent in the trenches have helped establish Lander’s incredible international reputation.

His focus, drive and attention to detail could likely be attributed to some of the most elite role models that have led his career by example.

"Henrik Zetterberg, no question," said the dynamic centerman. "When I was growing up, he was playing with Timra where I was born. I look up to him a lot, because he plays the game I want to. He brings such an excellent balance of offence and defence, and that’s why I want to provide for my team. "

"Of course, my father has always been a huge supporter of me, and my mom as well. The coaches I have had in my career have taught me so much in my game today, so they mean a lot to me too. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am."

For a 19-year old soon looking to make the transition to North America, Lander’s knowledge of the NHL and overall North American style bodes well for an organization that desperately needs depth at the centre position.

Anton Lander & Magnus Paajarvi work together in a drill at this past July's development camp in Edmonton.
"He's a really good two-way centre. He brings so much skill and talent at both ends of the ice, which is really good for the NHL and the Oilers," said former teammate and best friend Magnus Paajarvi.

"But more than that, his working habits are unbelievable. He's a guy that has a lot of character and he's one of my best friends and I respect him a lot. Hopefully we can play together in Edmonton sometime."

While his on-ice ability has certainly been the result of the aforementioned skill-sets, Lander’s equally as impressive leadership qualities have rounded out a considerable level of maturity from the young centreman, says Paajarvi.

"We talk all the time and he asks me lots of questions about the Oilers and the NHL," Paajarvi said with a smile.

"It's very hard to take out one particular thing with Anton. He's so good in every aspect, but I have to say his character. He has really helped me grow as a player, and probably more importantly as a person. It really separates him from the group and that's why he gets to be captain."

Indeed, that budding leadership will be counted on come Boxing Day when Lander’s squad begins the tournament against Norway. Lander says that although his group is in tough to compete for the title, they will do anything they can to help make Sweden proud.

"I'm really looking forward to the World Junior Championship. We have a good team with a good mix. Both our offence and defence is strong. Maybe not as good a team as last year, but we have a good chance to be one of the top three. If we really push ourselves, which I know we can, then of course we can compete for the championship."

"We’ll do everything we can to win. Winning games is the best part of the sport."

With an upward development curve that eyes limitless possibilities, Anton Lander continues to prove himself as one of Edmonton’s most remarkable prospects and off-ice individuals. Lander, along with his buddy Magnus Paajarvi and the Oilers organization, hope to share in his ongoing success as he continues to work his way to the NHL.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |


Name Age GP G A PTS +/- PIM Team
Cameron Abney   19 25 3 1 4 -4 26 Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Alexander Bumagin   23 22 4 2 6 N/A 16 Novokuznetsk (KHL)
Philippe Cornet   20 21 0 3 3 -3 2 Oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Drew Czerwonka   18 32 9 12 21 +2 39 kootenay ice (WHL)
Alexandre Giroux   29 32 10 18 28 -2 34 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Curtis Hamilton   19 31 15 27 42 +27 6 saskatoon blades (whl)
Teemu Hartikainen   20 32 9 8 17 -9 19 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Kellen Jones   20 18 4 5 9 N/A 25 quinnipiac university (ecac)
Milan Kytnar   21 31 2 6 8 -7 8 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Anton Lander   19 30 7 7 14 N/A 26 timra ik (sel)
Matt Marquardt   23 21 2 3 5 -3 6 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ryan Martindale   18 32 19 28 47 +24 18 ottawa 67's (ohl)
Brad Moran   31 32 9 17 26 +2 10 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ryan O'Marra *
23 22 1 13 14 +11 23 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Linus Omark  *
23 26 13 13 26 +6 28 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Ben Ondrus   28 32 3 7 10 -4 34 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Kristians Pelss   18 27 3 7 10 +4 17 edmonton oil kings
Tyler Pitlick   19 31 13 21 34 +3 21 medicine hat tigets (whl)
Toni Rajala   19 22 6 6 12 N/A 4 ilves tampere (fnl)
Liam Reddox   24 32 15 12 27 +12 8 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Gregory Stewart   24 27 3 2 5 -1 45 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Chris Vande Velde   23 31 5 4 9 -7 20 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Name Age GP G A PTS +/- PIM Team
Shawn Belle 
25 29 3 16 19 -5 39 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Jordan Bendfeld   22 7 0 0 0 E 18 oklahoma city barons (AHL)
Kyle Bigos   21 15 0 4 4 N/A 42 merrimack college (h-east)
Jeremie Blain   18 9 0 7 7 N/A 10 acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)
Taylor Chorney   23 32 1 9 10 +2 16 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Brandon Davidson   19 36 5 24 29 -4 32 regina pats (whl)
Troy Hesketh   19 22 0 0 0 -12 30 chicago steel (ushl)
Martin Marincin   18 33 10 25 35 +6 37 prince george cougars (whl)
Johan Motin   21 26 1 3 4 -3 28 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Richard Petiot   28 18 0 4 4 +3 12 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Jeff Petry   23 32 7 14 21 -7 18 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Alex Plante   21 30 1 5 6 +1 68 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Name Age GP W L T SO GAA PCT Team
Tyler Bunz   18 24 16 6 2 0 2.39 .918 medicine hat tigers (whl)
Martin Gerber
36 19 11 7 1 0 2.43 .916 oklahoma city barons (ahl)
Bryan Pitton   22 12 7 3 1 1 3.10 .890 stockton thunder (ECHL)
Olivier Roy   19 21 12 9 0 0 2.95 .905 acadie-bathurst titan (qmjhl)
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