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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Struggling Lars Eller

After starting off the season one of the hottest players in the NHL, Lars Eller has seriously tapered off as the season has gone on. It is hard to say that he is struggling solely because he is one of few Habs players who have continuously played a solid game throughout the seasons struggles. In my opinion, he embodies what most Habs fans, and coaches are looking for in a player. He has a good size, can throw some big hits, battles hard, is excellent defensively, and has some good hands to boot. Now, with all of these assets its hard to fathom why he could be having so many struggles this season in tallying points. Really, there are several reasons, and some are controllable, others are not.

First off, lets take a look at how Eller played last season. I thought that he played well, and showed that he is a serious contender as a number one centre. He hit a career high in points with 30 (8 G, 20 A) while playing well defensively, and spent a lot of time on the Habs penalty kill units. He has been known to score in bunches, and last year he never went more than four games without a point. He played well in all areas of the game and was rewarded for it.

This season seems to be a different story. He is playing the same, if not better, hockey as last season, yet he has been having a difficult time putting up points. He has had shots on net in 46 of 52 games, but just can't seem to find the back of the net. Part of the reason for me, is that he has not been used in the right way as of late. I noticed Eller starting to taper off from the score sheet in early December. He started playing a more defensive game, and playing with different linemates. When Therrien had the "EGG" line together, Eller was playing his best offensive hockey. Every time his line stepped on the ice their were scoring chances galore, and the momentum of the game was completely shifted. After Therrien's attempt to get players like David Desharnais, Rene Bourque, and Daniel Briere going, Eller was thrown around the line-up. Since then, he has not been able to find his groove with his linemates, and is playing the wrong role for his type of player.

Currently, he is playing on the wing (yes, the wing) with two-way forwards Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta. If Therrien wants to see Eller produce points, this has to change. With the team struggling in scoring, you'd think Therrien would do his best to set lines up to create the most offense. By utilizing Eller in this position, he is creating a line based around playing against the top line as a shut down offense. I think Eller should be playing with Pacioretty and Gallgher, creating a dynamic trio of offensive capability, but with enough hockey sense to be able to play defensively as well. Eller has the ability to do it all, he just needs to be put in the position to do so.

I believe that at some point Therrien will realize Eller's potential as an aggressive threat. When this happens, expect a huge improvement in points by Eller, as well as a big boost in Montreal's offense. Lars is an excellent player, and he should be used for his strengths. If Eller stays in the same spot as he is in right now. I don't expect to see much offense coming from him. I, for one, would like to see the dominant offensive force that could be, Lars Eller.

By Darrin Harmsworth

@darrinharmy

@darrinharmy

5 comments:

Anyone still believing in Trevor Timmins abilities after 12 years here..Here are the players currently at Hamilton He Drafted.+ POINT

Martin St Louis-28 Louis Leblanc-20 Sven Andrighetto-19
Mike Blunden-19 Gabe Dumont-18 Nathan Beaulieu-14
Joonas Nattinen-12 Patrick Holland-11 Morgan Ellis-7 Eric Nystom -5Stefan Fournie-5 Jarred Tinordi-5
Darren Dietz-4 Not much there after 12 years, Trevor...


ttinen-12 Patrick Holland-11 Morgan Ellis-7

I agree, and if he Was doing sa good job, why have we Missed the playoffs THREE times since he arrived, Ne ver happened here before..Also, when we make the playoffs, its usually one and done..
And if Tiimmins is so good, why do we have to keep signing some of the worst free agents, I ean, Briere and Parros, you mean to tell me in the 12 years TT has been here, he cant find a Fourth Line Enforcer for us??

Really? Critiquing TT, after finding us a Norris defenceman in the second round? Clearly, he's a scrub and should be turfed for such insolence!

Also, of course we have a derth in prospects, as look at the developmental curve. Players entering their prime now were drafted in 07-09. What did we do those years? Throw picks around like a sailor throws dollar bills on shore leave.

Clearly, he can't make miracles happen when we trade away our 1st round pick (08) and numerous second rounders. If it wasn't for PG, we would currently have a top pairing of McDonagh-Subban, instead we traded McDonagh for Gomez (the trade that keeps on giving!)

So really, while management is certainly at fault here, it's very hard to make a case that TT hasn't made the most of a bad situation.

@anon (the last one)...finally a voice of reason among all the Timmins bashing.

I still maintain that Timmins' biggest downfall is his lack of homerun, first round success.

But let's be honest here...Plekanec, Paccioretty, Subban, Price, Gallagher, Galchenyuk, Emelin etc...that, right there, is the core of the current team, all built through the draft.

Not to mention players (who are no longer with the Habs) like Grabovski, Mark Streit, Ryan McDonagh, Jaro Halak, Maxim Lapierre, Chris Higgins, Latendresse, just to name a few...

That said, I fully understand the hate directed at Timmins...fans have watched other teams draft stars in the first round where, with few exceptions, Timmins has fallen flat on his face.

Fire the coach Michel Therrien now!!!! Look how well Pittsburgh did when they got ride of him mid season. He is running the team into the ground.

When Montreal hired the coach there were no alternatives, there are now including a good french head coach, so fire Michael Therrien now and save the season.

Maybe trade Gionta to New Jersey now as well so he can play with his brother Stephen in New Jersey and Montreal can get Jagr a player with size to play with Pleckankic. Gionta's career is over, to many injuries and to small and he will be a free agent this summer anyway so no loss.

Get ride of Briare and Desarne as well but with that stupid 4 year contract for Desarrne Montreal will have to eat it. Can't beli they signed Briare what a mistake that and the Desarne contract remind me of the Gomez deal.

They should have extended Subban last year not Desarne and Briare. If they sign Subban long term his trade value goes up if they ever want to get ride of him but I will take Subban over, Briare, Desarne etc any day

In todays NHL you can't have more then 4 small forwards and 2 small defense men if you want to go far in the playoffs

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