I’m sure that most Montreal Canadien fans are still a bit bitter over
the Habs’ decision to stick with Carey Price instead of handing
Jaroslav Halak a big contract extension. After all, Halak was the
goaltender that claimed the starting position and helped lead the
Canadiens to the brink of the Stanley Cup finals.
To help ease the sting of that trade, the Canadiens are receiving the
Blues’ top prospect in Lars Eller, a talented Danish forward who made a
great impression during his first season in North America. The 13th
overall pick for the Blues in 2007, he had 18 goals and 57 points in 70
games for the Peoria Rivermen last season at 21 years old, and seems
poised to be ready to make the full time jump to the NHL next season
after appearing in seven games last year for the Blues.
It’s likely he’ll start off in the AHL, unless he forces his way onto
the roster in training camp, but it won’t be long before he’s making
his debut before the Montreal crowd. Judging by Pierre Gauthier’s
comments yesterday, that appears to be the early plan.
Of course, Eller is approaching the offseason with the intent of
starting the season with the Canadiens. From
“That was my goal in St. Louis, to make that club this
year. I’m going to have the same mindset coming into Montreal. I know
that Montreal has a big fan base and there are big expectations for the
team and the players as well. But I put pressure on myself. I see this
in a positive way.”
The Habs will certainly give
Eller the chance to make the team, especially after trading away Halak
to acquire him, and the big and talented center should be a big part of
the future of this team. There’s a reason he was so highly regarded
three years ago before even playing above the junior level in the SEL.
understand that Habs fans are angry over this trade, but getting Eller
coming the other way should be more than just a consolation prize.