The Habs are down to just one remaining RFA left to re-sign as it was
announced on Thursday afternoon that they have re-signed Lars Eller to a four
year contract worth a total of $14 million, avoiding salary arbitration.
The financial breakdown of the deal is reportedly $2.5 million for each of the
next two years, followed by $4.25 million in 2016-17 and $4.75 million in
Eller came to the team back on June 17, 2010 as the key part of the Jaroslav
Halak to St. Louis trade. He has been a regular with the Habs since being
acquired but has yet to live up to his offensive potential as a former lottery
pick with just 101 points in 279 regular season games with the Canadiens and a
single-season high of just 30 points. He has, however, shown considerable
improvement in the defensive zone and has improved on his faceoff percentage in
every season since joining Montreal. He also has taken steps forward in
his physical game, posting improvements in that regard the past two seasons; he
actually led all Hab forwards in that stat last year.
Last year, the 6’2 centre got off to a very strong start, recording nine
points in the first eight games of the season. He was unable to keep up
that pace and found himself frequently in slumps throughout the rest of the
year. From January 4th through March 12th, he had just a single assist in
a span of 24 games. Nonetheless, he still managed to collect 12 goals and
14 assists in 77 games in 2013-14.
The postseason is where Eller really made his mark. Not only did he
lead all Montreal forwards in points, he also was fairly consistent
production-wise in each series, picking up at least four points in each round.
More impressive is that he did so despite not seeing a significant bump in ice
time; he averaged 16:27 per postseason contest, just 30 seconds more per game
than his regular season average. Overall, Eller had five goals and eight
helpers in 17 postseason contests, providing some hope that he can be more of an
offensive threat moving forward.
With this deal, the Habs now have 47 players under contract for next season.
This number does include five junior-aged players whose contracts will only
count if they play ten or more games in the NHL in 2014-15. In terms of
cap space, Montreal has approximately $11 million (depending on who you
have pegged for the 7th defenceman role) with just arbitration-eligible P.K.
Subban to re-sign. Subban’s hearing is set for August 1st at 9 AM EST.