Do Not Trade Eller- For Anything.

by Jacob Saltiel
LarsEller-thumbnail

Going Somewhere?
from nhlpa.com

Stars of the Evening

Last night, Lars Eller was 1st star of the evening, though that award might have gone to the energetic Subban. Subban, who never seemed to be on the bench, and who fired a torrent of shots on Robin Lehner while harassing the Ottawa forwards into impotence, is the young leader of the Canadiens’ blueline. This isn’t to say that Eller played badly. In fact, on several sequences throughout the game, Eller looked as if he were on fast-forward, dispossessing Senators players at ease, shifting about the offensive zone with ease and slithering his way into the centre of the ice for shots and passes. Judging by the attention paid to Eller by other teams’ rugged players of late, it appears that the rest of the league has noticed his irritating tendency to get the puck and rather ungraciously refuse to give it up to anyone on the other team save the goalie. None of which many Habs fans may have seen coming since Eller arrive here in the Halak trade.

Let 100 Flowers Bloom

No, the prospect management strategy for Eller in recent seasons was a dubious one at best. Imagine you like to garden. Now imagine you traded away your favourite plant (one that held the garden together in the Autumn) for another team’s unbloomed ficus. Hang on, this metaphor is going somewhere. Now, imagine you took that young ficus, then put it in a box. Then you put that box in the basement of your house on the bottom of a shelf overflowing with LP’s from the 80’s and hardware that you never quite learned how to use. Now, imagine you went out to your garden and were dismayed at the quality of your flowerbeds. So, you go back down to the basement, open the door, and then yell at the ficus in the box about how it isn’t blooming, and how the rest of the team flowerbed sucks because of it. Nevermind that your young ficus needs soil, sun, and water to grow, this ficus was a bad trade, and was never going to turn into anything. Stupid non-blooming ficus. Ruining your gardening season. It has the potential to be that ficus that every garden needs to compete in the NHL!

“You Buy That At a Coffee Shop”

Punishing flower analogies aside, Eller’s improvement this season has everything to do with his receipt of minutes and capable linemates. One of the risks of keeping Galchenyuk in Montreal was that he’d block Eller from playing his natural centre position. Early on when Eller was in the pressbox, Eller looked like he was waiting around for a trade to anywhere. Today, the Canadiens probably couldn’t trade Eller for comparable value to anyone. He’s flourishing (groan) offensively and defensively, even while he could stand to play more. On some shifts against the Senators last night, he looked fast, shifty with the puck, and a threat to turn the play around towards the Senators on many occasions.

The last time the Canadiens made the playoffs featured some quality announcing by the CBC. More famous from that series was Bob Cole’s shout of “everything is happening”, but Glenn Healey did him one better on this particular segment.
Leaving aside the blatant racism, Healey commented on Eller’s quality puck protection. As early as the beginning of the season, it looked like Eller might be a ‘sell-low’ candidate. Today, you most certainly could not get that kind of player for a draft pick or undeveloped prospect, and definitely not at a Starbucks. Let’s hope he continues his solid play.

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3 Comments to “Do Not Trade Eller- For Anything.”

  1. Eller for Clarkson, Clowe or Bickell would seem like a trade that would work for both teams involved. If they won’t give Eller top 6 minutes why not bring in a bigger, more physical guy who can chip in offensively while making the Habs a tougher team to play against?

    • We don’t need tough! Not with the way they’ve been calling penalties this year

    • Well, firstly, all of the guys you named will be unrestricted free agents in the summer, while Lars Eller will still be a restricted free agent AFTER the 2015 season. Sure, Bergevin could trade away all those years of control for players he can sign for nothing but money in several months, but WHAT IS THE RUSH AND WHY WOULD HE DO THAT? I like all three of the guys that you named, but why should Bergevin overpay for them?

      Secondly, Clowe’s tailed off and Bickell is solid, but at best a complementary offensive player. Don’t be fooled by Bickell’s size either, he’s actually not that physical.

      Thirdly, Eller plays centre, a more valuable position than Clowe, Clarkson, and Bickell, and is quite a bit younger than they are.

      Clarkson is extremely good, but, trading for him would only be desirable if he signed an extension before the trade, and even then, Eller might turn into a better player than he is.

      Consider also that the Canadiens this year don’t operate on a “top-6/bottom-6” model. They run out 3 solid lines that can all keep control of the puck and a 4th line that consists of murderers. Consider also that despite Eller having played little at the beginning of the season, he’s still the 6th most used forward based on average ice time per game, meaning, he’s already getting top 6 minutes.

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