Anton Lander

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Oilers reportedly lose Lander to Russia

After eight years and over 200 games, Edmonton and Anton Lander are parting ways.

Per Sport-Express’ Igor Eronko, Lander has reportedly agreed to join KHL club Ak Bars Kazan. The deal comes after Lander’s two-year, $1.975M pact with the Oilers expired, and he became a restricted free agent.

The 40th overall pick in ’09, Lander had some decent spells in Edmonton. In ’14-15, he racked up 20 points in 38 games — which led to the aforementioned two-year extension — but could never find his niche as a full-time NHLer.

As a result, Lander ended up as one of those guys that racked up points in the AHL, but struggled to replicate similar success in the bigs. Last year, with Bakersfield, he had 25 goals and 55 points in just 42 games.

At 26, he was probably ready to part ways with the only NHL organization he’s ever known. Earlier reports suggested Lander was also mulling a return to his native Sweden.

Oilers waive Fayne for second time in as many seasons

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Edmonton has put veteran d-man Mark Fayne on waivers again.

Fayne, 29, has only appeared in one game this season, playing just 2:27 in a mid-October game against Carolina before exiting with an injury. That landed him on IR — he did register an assist before getting hurt, though — and it seems the plan is to now pass him through waivers, and send him to AHL Bakersfield.

(Unless, of course, another team claims him.)

In July of 2014, the Oilers signed Fayne to a four-year, $14.5 million deal, with then-GM Craig MacTavish calling him “a very good defender” that made plays “highly effectively.”

Roughly 17 months after inking that contract, Fayne fell out of favor with new head coach Todd McLellan, and saw his role drastically reduced. The former Devils rearguard averaged just 16:43 TOI last season, got waived in December, and appeared in 69 contests (and four for the Condors, his first AHL stint since the ’10-11 campaign).

Fayne has two years left on his deal, with an average annual cap hit of $3.625 million. Should he go to Bakersfield, he’ll add to Edmonton’s amount of money committed to players not on the active roster — Andrew Ference remains on LTIR, Lauri Korpikoski was bought out (and is now playing for Dallas) while Anton Lander is also buried in the minors.

Slumping Oilers waive Lander

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This morning, Brough touched on the struggling Edmonton Oilers, who lost their fifth straight game last night and are now barely above. 500.

Shortly thereafter, the club made a move.

Forward Anton Lander, who’s appeared in 16 of Edmonton’s 19 games this season, has been placed on waivers. The move comes with Lander having scored just three points in those 16 games, averaging 10:15 TOI per night.

(He was scratched for Thursday’s loss to L.A.)

The 40th overall pick in 2009, Lander has enjoyed some good times in Edmonton, most notably during the ’14-15 campaign when he scored 20 points in 38 games.

The Oilers locked him into a two-year, $1.97 million extension that summer — good for an average annual cap hit of $985,000 — but Lander struggled in year one of the deal, scoring just three points in 61 games last season.

Should he clear waivers, the 25-year-old Swede — a veteran of over 200 NHL contests — could be off to the Oilers’ AHL affiliate in Bakersfield.

 

Todd McLellan is doing some coaching today

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Calling it a “sobering wake-up call,” Todd McLellan vowed to turn last night’s 5-2 preseason loss to Vancouver into a teachable moment for his young Oilers.

“We’ll use it, properly, and try to improve it,” the coach told reporters.

Now, to be fair, last night’s defeat was the first of the preseason for the Oilers. They won their first six, with a couple of shutouts to boot.

But it was the defensive breakdowns versus the Canucks that reminded everyone that Connor McDavid can’t solve everything for this team.

Not Anton Lander‘s finest moment right there.

Nor was this a good moment for new defenseman Andrej Sekera:

And so this is what the Oilers did today:

Edmonton has a tough start to the regular season, opening on the road against St. Louis, Nashville and Dallas.

So temper those expectations, Oilers fans.

“If we think it’s all going to improve at once, we’re mistaken,” McLellan said. “It’s going to improve slowly.”

Why Yakupov is still on the third line, despite Eberle injury

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Edmonton coach Todd McLellan wants to put Nail Yakupov in “situations to succeed.”

Oddly enough, those situations may not be in the Oilers’ top six, even after winger Jordan Eberle was lost to injury.

Tonight against Vancouver, Yakupov — the first overall draft pick in 2012 — will skate on a third line centered by Anton Lander, with rookie Anton Slepyshev on the other wing.

“I think we’re trying to create some chemistry with Anton,” said McLellan. “Believe it or not, Anton is our leading scorer (5G, 1A) through exhibition season. I’d want to play with that type of guy, if I had Yak’s skillset.”

But it also comes down to match-ups. Theoretically, playing down the lineup should keep Yakupov away from the opposition’s top players, who are more likely to be deployed against Taylor Hall, Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on Edmonton’s top two lines.

“In my opinion, Yak’s strength is with the puck and on the offensive side,” said McLellan. “He’s working on his defensive game. And sometimes who you match up against is important.”

Related: Where does Draisaitl fit for Oilers?