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Eller signs and what is left..

  • As you are all aware, Lars (Larry) Eller has signed a 2 year deal totaling $2.65 over the course of the contract which can only be seen as a steal for what Eller could provide to this team over the next two seasons. As a Restricted Free Agent, Eller didn’t really have much in the way of negotiating power, and as we have seen in the past, comparable players are used to determine the contract value. This is why RFAs such as Carey Price and Drew Doughty have held out for so long in the past before signing – when there are no real comparables you’re bound to be ripped off, which will lead a player to exercise his only leverage – to hold out.

    Still, Eller’s deal is certainly worth a second look because I think Montreal has benefited incredibly from circumstance to get a VERY good deal for what Eller will be. The great Dane has underrated size and toughness. He’s certainly not a fighter, but we saw for long stretches that Eller is the type of guy who is willing to use his size and high hockey IQ to go into corners and come out with the puck. He’s simply fantastic in tight spaces, and I would say probably has the second best passing vision on the team to Andrei Markov. All of this has yet to pay off in terms of big points, but it is critically important that we remember that Eller turned 23 two days ago!

    The real reason that I think the Habs could have really scored a coup here is that Eller has never really been given the opportunity to play solid minutes with offensively talented players. No disrespect intended to Mathieu Darche, Ryan White or Mike Blunden – but if Eller could get on the ice more than his current 15 minutes per game with talented players, I sincerely believe that he would see a large boost in his offensive production.

    While its hard to see him supplanting Plekanec or Desharnais on the powerplay at this point, Montreal would do well to get him on the ice with capable wingers every once in a while. If Eller can put up 28 points playing 15 minutes per night with Mathieu Darche and Travis Moen, it is near impossible to believe that he wouldn’t flourish with guys like Pacioretty or Gionta. The fact that Eller is most often used against the other team’s top line in a defensive role means that his value is already very high for this team. I’d like to see the team try to capitalize on the offensive game that we all witnessed when he put up 4 goals in one game versus the Winnipeg Jets last season.

    WHAT IS LEFT

    With Eller’s signing, the Habs have most of the main pieces of the team locked up for this season. Clearly a contract for PK Subban is in the works. Raphael Diaz, Aaron Palushaj and Blake Geoffrion (all RFAs) are the only remaining players from last year’s squad who will be offered contracts. Darche and Chris Campoli will be cut adrift in the UFA market. Montreal has just over $7.5M left in cap space to accommodate these players, so while a big market free agent is out of the question given how much PK will command in his contract, Bergevin certainly could still add some veteran depth if he can find a good deal.

    Hope you’re all having a great summer!

10 Comments
  1. #1 Senet1 says:
    July 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Matts that 7.5M cap space I assume includes Gomez cap hit in it, if that is removed then we have close to 15M?

  2. #2 Senet1 says:
    July 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    I still expect that Gomez and possibly Kaberla may be shipped out to the minors or elsewhere? That would free up almost $12M in cap space. Bourque may come back and play better this year, if he doesn’t then he becomes trade bait too or shipped to the minors. We could have a NHL team in Hamilton pretty soon. Bourque has disappointed me, becuase he always played well against us and seemingly was a consistent 20+ goal scorer. Hopefully he works are in the off season and gets ready to play his game this year,if he does then he could really help this team. We have to expect a better attitude from the players coming into this season with a complete new management team to stress their philosphy to the players. I am also wondering if any of the Juniors or second year players in Hamilton will make the team. I am thinking of Galagher as an example.

  3. #3 Senet1 says:
    July 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Hope we do not have a season ending strike like back in 2004. That was the worst winter I can every remember.

  4. #4 Avatar37 says:
    July 9, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    Shhhhhhhhhhhh don’t say strike or lockout…. It’s bad luck.

  5. #5 Avatar37 says:
    July 9, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    I agree, I think we got a great deal on Eller and can’t wait to see how he develops. I’d have him on the second line. No way I’d break up the line of Cole, Pacioretty, and Desharnais. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. However, a second line of Plekanec, Eller, and Bourque has the potential to be good, and if not Bourque, then Gionta if he’s healthy, or see what Armstrong can do. It’s simply a matter of playing around with the second line chemistry until you find a match that works. First line shouldn’t change all year.

  6. #6 Avatar37 says:
    July 9, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    I’m still worried about only signing Emelin to a two year contract, it allows for the possibility that if he plays well these two years, another team will make a run at him with some ridiculous 10 year contract and we’ll lose him.

  7. #7 Senet1 says:
    July 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Yes Avatar I think you are right, first I thought the free agency rules did not allow him to be unrestricted at the end of the contract. However, if I understand the new rules if he is 27 years old then he qualifies as a UFA. He turns 27 in April and the contract is up on July 1st.??? Might be a bad move. Then again maybe it is part of the master plan???????????

  8. #8 Senet1 says:
    July 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Of course if the owners get their way and they cannot become UFA until they are 30 then we are covered. I expect that is part of what the players will give up and move the age to 28 and then 29 but stop short of 30. Wwith a cause of 7 years in the NHL staying the same. That way players like Emelin would not earn their UFA until they are 30-31 years old.

  9. #9 Avatar37 says:
    July 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    I don’t think the age of UFA is going to change any. By the age of 30, most players NHL careers are over, or very near the end. I believe the current system will remain in place, I think this is simply an area that allows the NHL to “give up” in order to gain in an area they want.

  10. #10 Senet1 says:
    July 16, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    You could be right, but a g
    uy like Emelin should not be allowed UFA when only in the league 3 years, so maybe there is a compromise.

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