The Warmup - The emergence of Lars Eller
Going into the season, EOTP named Eller the most impressive Canadien in Europe, and that promise is beginning to really show through.
For two seasons now we've seen flashes of Lars Eller's talent in Montreal. Some of us have been believers in him from the beginning for a variety of reasons, but I think it's fair to say that the majority of Canadiens fans were not too enthused with the return for Jaroslav Halak.
At just 23 though, Eller had an extremely promising campaign in the SM-Liiga while the NHL was still making itself the joke of North American sports over a prolonged argument for a couple percentage points. His 15 points in 15 games in perhaps the toughest league to score in in Europe was phenomenal.
Then his first game of the year was terrible. Therrien called him out, scratched him, we all freaked out. Then Eller got his chance to get back into the lineup, but he played on the 4th line for a large part of the season.
Because of playing on a 4th line that's used in a sacrificial, defensive role, he was severely outchanced to start the season. He was outpossessed quite severely as well.
Yet now Eller has played the second toughest competition of all Habs forwards after Plekanec, and outside of the 4th line, he has the toughest zone starts, and in the 3 games from the halfway mark of the season, his Fenwick percentage while the score is close jumped from 46.5% to 51.1%.
Lars Eller has been saddled with inferior linemates, fewer minutes, and a defensive role, yet he's producing at a better pace than David Desharnais.
The young Dane is emerging right before out eyes, the only question now is how good can he be?
And oh yeah, we have him signed for $1.325M this year and next. What. A. Contract.