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2020-21 Rink Wrap: Lars Eller

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From Backstrom to Wilson, we’re taking a look at and grading the 2020-21 season for every player who laced ‘em up for the Caps for a significant number of games during the campaign, with an eye towards 2021-22. Next up, Lars Eller.

Boston Bruins v Washington Capitals - Game Two Photo by Patrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The Stats:

Regular Season

Playoffs

The Charts:

via Evolving-Hockey
via HockeyViz

The Key Stat: Eller posted a relCF% of 4.7, the second-highest of his career (his best was last season when he hit 5.5). In other words, the team consistently generated a higher rate of shot attempts with Eller on the ice than without him.

The Good: Eller continued to be a reliable presence as the backbone of the third line (and a fill-in for the top-six when needed). His points-per-game rate of .52 was the second-highest of his tenure in DC and third-best of his career overall - and when Eller scored, the team usually won (or vice versa), as 17 of his 23 points came in Caps’ wins.

He also had a positive impact on those around him. Conor Sheary’s even-strength CF% was a respectable 51.9% in 375 minutes without Eller but jumped up to 56.3 with him (274 mins); T.J. Oshie went from 50.9% to 54% when skating alongside Eller, and Michael Raffl went from 47.2 to a robust 68.3 (although limited sample-size warnings abound).

The Bad: As was the case for so many of his teammates this year, Eller’s effectiveness was hindered by injuries - first at then end of January, when a vicious (and largely unpunished) hit by Leo Komarov kept him out for four games, then again in mid-March, when he missed seven games due to a lower-body injury.

The most impactful, though, was in the playoffs, when he missed Game 3 with an injury suffered the previous game. As is now part of Capitals’ lore, Eller was able to step in back in 2018 when Nicklas Backstrom suffered a hand injury and helped keep the team afloat long enough for him to be the Cup-winning hero. This year, Eller wasn’t available to fill in when the team’s top-six was decimated by injuries... which isn’t to say he could have made up for all of the injured players, but it certainly didn’t help to have him on the shelf right alongside them.

The Video: Eller’s assist on Sheary’s goal marked his 300th career point, and he now has the third-most points by a Danish-born player:

The Discussion: Eller doesn’t seem to be slowing down much at 32, but has struggled with injury issues. How concerned are you with his ability to stay healthy over the final years of his contract? Who do you see as being his best fits as linemates? And finally, what would it take for you to give Eller a 10 next season?

The Other Eller Season Reviews: Coming soon!

The Vote: Rate Lars Eller below on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the best) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season - if he had the best year you could have imagined him having, give him a 10; if he more or less played as you expected he would, give him a 5 or a 6; if he had the worst year you could have imagined him having, give him a 1.

Poll

How do you rate Lars Eller’s 2020-21 season?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    10
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    9
    (2 votes)
  • 34%
    8
    (41 votes)
  • 26%
    7
    (31 votes)
  • 23%
    6
    (28 votes)
  • 11%
    5
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    4
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    3
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    2
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    1
    (0 votes)
119 votes total Vote Now