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Marc Bergevin continues to get his own players locked up quickly. A day after re-signing Frederic St. Denis, the Habs announced that Lars Eller has put pen to paper on a two year contract. Eller will earn $1.15 M this year and $1.5 M in 2013-14 for a cap hit of $1.325 M. This leaves just P.K. Subban and Raphael Diaz as the lone full time NHL'ers that need new deals.
2011-12 was a career year for the former 1st round pick as he set career highs in goals, assists, and points (with 16, 12, and 28 respectively). He also was one of the few forwards to stay consistently healthy during the year missing just three games. One area that didn't get enough attention was his blocked shots total; with 55, he was second to only Tomas Plekanec amongst Hab forwards. By comparison, he had just 22 in his rookie campaign. Eller matured into a responsible defensive forward under Jacques Martin and Randy Cunneyworth. He averaged just shy of two minutes per game on the penalty kill.
One area that he will need to improve upon is his faceoff skills. Eller has stated in the past that he is more comfortable playing centre but having a 46.6% success rate isn't going to help his cause. If he stays down the middle, he'll likely be the third line centre to start the year but if he moves to the wing as he has in the past, he could be an option to play on a second offensive line, potentially alongside Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta.
Eller had a strong end to the year as he joined Team Denmark for the 2012 World Championships. Although the team struggled (narrowly avoiding relegation), Eller led the Danes in points with 5, as well as shots on goals (21), and ice time as he played nearly 21 minutes per game. Of note for Montreal fans, he did so primarily on the wing. His highlight of the season came with Montreal against the Jets when he had a 4-goal night. Below are the highlights of those goals.