|2009 - Anton Lander||26
What it all boils down to is that Anton may not be one of the the most offensively skilled players, but what he lacks in skill he more than makes up for in hockey IQ and work ethic. The guy is simply a HOCKEYPLAYER, a guy that does all the little things and is team first. He might not become a top 6 player, but he definitely has the makings of a solid NHLer. But he really needs to work on speed and explosiveness, something he's improved upon but he still has a way to go.
Early in the preseason I checked out a lot of practices and it was clear that his speed and effort had improved. But his role on the team was still uncertain and he began the season as a forward on the 4th line. The club has had a tough season and remained at the bottom of the SEL, but Anton has been the one whose really pushed his teammates and shown the most heart. In a vote on the Internet among fans on who they thought was the best forward he won by a landslide (he got 40% and 2nd place Daniel Corso had 15% of the votes). He is also the one who's shown the most frustration with the results, both through body language and comments in the media.
Looking at him in terms of skill there is a lot of things to work on before he is ready to go into the NHL. The speed has improved but there is still more work to do, he has difficulty separating from defenders and taking it to the net. Therefore he has a tendency to end up a bit too much out in the corners. He could also improve in the terms of goals and assists and he can become stronger in the Faceoff Circle.
His strengths, in addition to the mental and leadership on the ice is that he has a strong body and very good balance. There aren't that many defenders who can put him down around the boards. He's also a bit of a playmaker, he's able to be make the difficult passes and has, for his age, a good shot.
I'm certain that this is a player who will end up in the NHL. In what role is still unclear. He might be a new Henrik Zetterberg or he might be a Samuel Påhlsson to use two extreme examples. I think Edmonton would benefit from having some patience with him and letting him develop his game here in Sweden for some years to see how he might fit in best and let the future tell what role he could take and not pigeonhole him too soon."
He's a mainstay on the Penalty Kill but also more and more on the Powerplay, and in the last 10-15 games he's gotten a lot of playing time, he plays roughly 20 minutes a game. He's also one of the teams leaders and is active on the bench, both encouraging and criticising the other players. Something he can do due to the hard work he puts in.