Canadiens' Eller on new contract: 'I know the more money you make, the more pressure there’s going to be'

Aug 24, 5:03 PM

Montreal Canadiens checking center Lars Eller signed a new four-year, $14 million contract this summer. While the Danish-born pivot is looking forward to his hockey future in Montreal, he also appears to have learned the lesson taught widely in the mid-90s by Mase, Biggy and Puffy: "mo' money, mo' problems."

"I know the more money you make, the more pressure there’s going to be from the fans and the higher the expectations are going to be," Eller said this weekend, per Pro Hockey Talk. "I always have a high expectation of myself. It’s not something I really think about. I’m just happy I’m set for the next four years."

This summer the Canadiens lost a handful of core veterans in Josh Gorges, Thomas Vanek and (now former) captain Brian Gionta; but since the Canadiens are one of the best teams at the draft table, there's plenty of young talent in the pipeline. Eller's excited to see it congeal going forward.

"I’m very excited for the future and I hope the organization is as well," explained Eller. "New groups are going to be formed and it’s going to happen sooner or later. It’s going to be fun to see where this team is going to be heading."

[H/T Pro Hockey Talk]

Jul 24, 5:42 PM

Canadiens re-sign Eller: 'This is the place I want to be'

Jul 24, 5:42 PM

Lars Eller is excited about his future with the Montreal Canadiens after agreeing to a four-year, $14-million contract.

Eller told media during a conference call on Thursday Montreal is where he wants to be:

I’m very happy to be a Canadien for the next four years. This is the place I want to be. Four years was a term that both sides were working on for quite some time. Many times, your salary and your expectations go hand-in-hand. I’ve seen that here in Montreal. But, I put a lot of pressure on myself, too. I think it also speaks to how much the organization believes in me. It’s nice to see that they’ve shown that faith in me. Now, it’s up to me to go out and play the best hockey that I can.

Eller described his 2013-14 season - during which he recorded 26 points in 77 games - as "mixed." He was second on the team with 13 points in 17 playoff games and knows his postseason performance helped him in contract negotiations.

"There’s no doubt about that," said Eller. "But, this goes longer than just one playoff run. It’s a long-term relationship. I’ve been here for four years now. ... It's about more than just one playoff run or one regular season."

Eller's new $3.5-million cap hit is on par with David Desharnais, who finished last season with 52 points.

Jul 24, 3:13 PM

Canadiens, Eller avoid arbitration with 4-year deal worth a reported $14 million

Jul 24, 3:13 PM

The Montreal Canadiens have avoided salary arbitration with center Lars Eller, agreeing to terms with the Danish-born checking forward on a four-year contract, the club announced Thursday

The deal is worth $14 million and will carry an averaged annual value of $3.5 million per season, according to a report from TVA's Renaud Lavoie.

Eller was excited about the contract, and why not? The settlement will carry an additional $400,000 in annual value beyond what his side had asked for with their arbitration award target.

So why is Eller's new cap-hit so much higher than what his side was poised to ask for at a salary arbitration hearing that had been scheduled for Friday? Because the Canadiens essentially bought out two of Eller's more expensive unrestricted free agent seasons with this contract.

That's reflected in the breakdown of the deal. Eller will make $2.5 million in each of the next two years (his restricted free agent seasons), before taking home $9 million (an average of $4.5 million per season) in the final two years of the contract, according to a report from Elliotte Friedman.

Eller's four-year deal is essentially a bet on Eller continuing to develop as a useful top-nine (or even as a top-six) forward. The 25-year-old center's salary cap-hit will be higher than it would've been with a bridge-type deal during the first two seasons of his new contract, but that'll likely save the Canadiens a good chunk of salary cap space over the latter half of Eller's contract. At least that's the wager that Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin has placed. 

The Canadiens - who were sitting on over $15 million in cap-space according to capgeek.com - basically traded a manageable amount of short-term pain, for some long-term gain. 

Montreal still has one salary arbitration hearing scheduled for next week, and it's a big one, with franchise cornerstone P.K. Subban scheduled to have his player-elected salary arbitration hearing on August 1.

Jul 23, 10:54 AM

Canadiens, Eller $1.45 million apart with 2 days before salary arbitration hearing

Jul 23, 10:54 AM

The Montreal Canadiens and Danish-born checking center Lars Eller exchanged salary arbitration briefs, ahead of their scheduled player-elected salary arbitration hearing on Friday. 

According to Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, the two sides are pretty far apart on their arbitration award targets with just over 48 hours to go before the hearing:

That puts the two sides at $1.45 million apart, which is significant. Obviously the Canadiens are looking to pay Eller like he's Sean Couturier or Nick Bonino while Eller's side is seeking Derek Stepan/Tyler Johnson money. The arbitration process encourages both sides to shoot for the moon as it were, so it seems likely that Eller will ultimately settle on a deal somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million.

So far this season, like the season previous, all scheduled arbitration hearings were settled in advance (with the exception of Vladimir Sobotka, who is a bit of a unique case). Could Eller and the Canadiens buck that trend on Friday?