Taking a fantasy hockey look at Lars Eller; and why Martin Erat and Brooks Laich will form a fine second line
It’s been three years since the trade that brought Lars Eller to Montreal in exchange for Jaroslav Halak. In Eller’s first season with Montreal, he recorded 17 points in 77 games. The following season, he improved to 28 points in 79 games. Last year, he put up 30 points in only 46 games, finishing fifth in Habs scoring.
Last year’s 54 point pace was achieved in spite of receiving the eighth most average time on ice (14:49) amongst Canadiens forwards, including only 0:49 with the man advantage.
In his last 10 games of the regular season, Eller spent over 80 per cent of his even-strength ice time with rookie Alex Galchenyuk. Eller finished the regular season with 13 points in his last 12 games, including five multi-point efforts.
Unfortunately, in his first playoff game of the season, Eller was knocked into next season thanks to a nasty hit by Ottawa’s Eric Gryba. By all accounts, there are no lingering effects from the concussion and Eller is ready to go this season.
Eller is about to hit what I like to call that sweet spot for prospects, he’s 24 years of age and entering his fourth full season. Add in the fact he’s playing for a new contract and the only thing holding him back from what could be a monster breakout season is he will have to fight for first unit power play minutes. The Dane has size and can play up the middle or on the wing.
Many fantasy poolies will forget Eller’s 54 point pace and focus on how Gryba ended his playoffs. Yes, it’s crowded up the middle in Montreal and there will be competition for top six ice time, but with perennial band-aid boys Rene Bourque, Danny Briere and