The Montreal Canadiens and center Lars Eller have agreed to a four-year, $14 million contract, reports Ranaud Lavoie of TVA Sports. The deal allows both sides to avoid an arbitration hearing, and keeps Eller in Montreal through the 2017-18 season.
Coming off a relatively cheap two-year deal, Eller was hoping to get paid this offseason one way or another. In arbitration, he reportedly requested a $3.1 million salary for 2014-15, while the Canadiens countered by offering just $1.65 million. Instead of letting things get heated during a hearing, the two sides instead moved on to negotiating a long-term deal.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin made a statement as part of the announcement:
We are very pleased to have agreed upon a long-term agreement with Lars Eller. He is an important part of our group of young veterans … Lars can play big minutes against the opponents’ top players and still be an offensive threat. We are confident he will reach his full potential and become an impact player who will compete at a high level for many years to come.
Eller has been a steady part of the Canadiens’ group of forwards since being acquired in 2010 from the St. Louis Blues. He’s not a big-time scorer, but showed some untapped potential by recording 30 points in just 46 games during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
The 24-year-old wasn’t as impressive last season, recording 12 goals and 26 points over 77 games with Montreal. However, given the massive raise ($3.5 million annual cap hit) he’s receiving as part of this deal, the Canadiens clearly believe he can be more productive going forward.