Time to grade the season of Washington Capitals center Lars Eller.
Lars Eller enjoyed a solid fourth season with the Washington Capitals. Once again brought on to center the third line, Eller was the best player on that third line which was up and down, okay mostly down. Eller is really a steal at third line as he’s got the potential to be a top six center on other teams.
Eller had 16 goals and 23 assists for 39 points, higher than what he had the season before and had the season completed a full 82 games maybe we would’ve seen Eller’s first 20 goal season. He averaged 17:01 minutes of ice time per game and won 51.9 percent of his face offs.
Eller had a 55.9 percent five on five shot attempt percentage, a 53.3 percent five on five expected goal percentage and a 51.0 percent goal percentage. Eller has also averaged 0.9 primary assists per hour. That’s pretty good and that’s what Caps centers have been averaging from Evgeny Kuznetsov to Nicklas Backstrom.
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Eller had less talented players to work with this season and still reached that number which was impressive. The season prior he had Brett Connolly and Andre Burakovsky. This season he was mostly with Carl Hagelin and Richard Panik. Those two struggled until Panik moved to the fourth line. Hagelin is known for his defense rather than goal scoring.
Still whatever Eller had with him he made the most out of it. He continued to rise to the occasion whether the Caps needed a big goal from him or to fill in the lineup. In the playoffs Eller was counted on to center the second line with the absence of Nicklas Backstrom due to injury.
Even though the Caps fell short, Eller’s role in the top six helped keep the team in most games. Like we said earlier, Eller could play top six if he was on a different team. Eller had an assist in five playoff games.
Eller had the highest Corsi For percentage in the regular season with 55.77 percent, a Fenwick For percentage of 55.51 percent, and a 50.60 High Danger Chances For percentage.
Grade B+: Lars Eller proved once again that even with a weak third line, he’s one of the most reliable Caps forwards in the bottom six. He’s an above average center deserving of an above average grade. Expect more speed on the third line this upcoming season with the addition of Daniel Sprong.