18 April 2019

2010-2011 NHL Top Prospects profile


14 - Lars Eller

Montreal Canadians, Centre, 6’2” – 198 lbs

The St. Louis Blues may yet regret the day they parted ways with the extremely talented and sublime Lars Eller. Hardly lop-sided as many suggest at this point, Eller was swapped with Ian Schultz for goaltender Jaroslav Halak with the Montreal Canadians eight days prior to free agency on 1 July 2010. Regardless of how Schultz develops, Eller is more than capable of lessening the sting Habs fans felt after the deal, though a lot of pressure needlessly is shoved his way during that process.

A slick scoring threat with great lower-body heft and a knack along theEller STL boards, the eye follows Eller around the ice because of the impact he has even with subtle positioning and the potential for breakout. Footspeed is an issue for all but the swiftest defenseman against the sixth Danish NHL player of all-time and a wise coaching staff would utilize P.K. Subban’s skill-set to get the puck up to a player such as Eller.

Appearing in seven games for the Blues last season while suiting up primarily for their AHL affiliate, the Peoria Rivermen, the pride of Rodovre, a suburb of Copenhagen, netted two goals in that span while seeing limited icetime. However, he was a participant in the AHL All-Star game and was also elected to the All-Rookie Team.

The left-handed 21-year-old also impressed the followers of the Swedish Elite League, accumulating the most points by a junior (29) while skating for the Frolunda Indians. One would be wise to note that the Deft Dane’s playoff numbers as a junior are encouraging as well, for what it is worth.

Eller has certainly turned some heads as training camp progressed and his role expanded. A three assist night on 27 September 2010 while shifting over to left wing to skate on a line with Scott Gomez and soon-to-be-named captain Brian Gionta certainly gets the juices going.

Eller MTL

"It's the first chance I had to see him (Eller) play and I like his speed and his quickness," said head coach Jacques Martin in the Montreal Gazette on 25 September 2010. "He wants the puck. He was on a lot of loose pucks. He went to the net and into the traffic and there were a lot of good things going on."

While the Halak trade has left many with a sour taste in their mouth (and many a jaded spoken and written word on Carey Price), the gracious puck-handling and flat-out speed of Eller may get them choking down handfuls of popcorn in an effort to catch his upcoming shift. The talent and situation present a finer match for hockey’s most prized franchise than many of the over-reactive fans realize.



5 October 2010 / Robin Keith Thompson

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