The 24-year-old Dane is now entering his fourth season as an NHL forward, a season that oftens translate into a 25% offensive breakout for NHL forwards. After an uneventful first season with the Habs during which he recorded a mere 7 goals and 10 assists for 17 points in 77 games, the first-round draft pick in 2007 improved his offensive numbers in 2008, notching 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points in 79 contests.
Last season, Eller found himself centering two rookies, Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk, during most of the season. The influx of talent on wings helped bolster his offensive production to a very interesting 8 goals and 22 assists for 30 points in only 46 games because of the lock-out. Over a full season those numbers would translate into a 14 goals and 38 helpers for 52 points!
Including the first two games of the season, Eller has now accumulated 18 points (7 g and 11 a) in his last 14 regular season games with Montreal (excluding last playoffs). If Eller hadn't been knocked out of the series last Spring by a vicious neutral-zone bodycheck laid out by Ottawa Senators' defenseman Eric Gryba, who knows if the Habs would have been eliminated by the Sens in the first round.
Eller was even named the NHL's second star of the first week of action in 2013 after recording 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points in only 2 games. Eller has also improved dramatically on face-offs, posting a .515% efficiency so far in 2013-14 (he finished with .493% in 2012-13, .466% in 2011-12 and .425 % in 2010-11, respectively).
Eller and his linemates, dubbed the EGG line, are steadily seeing their playing time increase as they have been the Canadiens' best line so far this season. With the increased responsibilities will come more power play time, which will translate into more points for Eller and the Gallys. Eller is currently ranked sixth among Habs forwards with an average of 3:11 TOI/G on the man advantage after playing a mere 42 seconds per game on average on the power play last season!
Stronger and faster, Eller is on a mission this season after bulking up during the off-season! The 6'2'', 215-lb pivot has everything you want in a first-line center: a high hockey IQ, the speed, the grit, and the play-making ability that every NHL coach is looking for.
Eller is ready to shine this season with the Habs and don't be surprised if the young Dane finishes as the team's leading point getter among forwards, battling the team's scoring title with Norris Trophy winner P.K. Subban.
No Foolin' Fred Poulin