MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens avoided arbitration with centre Lars Eller, agreeing to terms of a four-year contract with the 25-year-old Dane on Thursday.
Eller was scheduled to have an arbitration hearing on Friday. He reportedly asked for US$3.1 million for next season while the team offered $1.65 million.
Reports said Eller will be paid an average of $3.5 million per season.
“Very happy to be part of the Montreal Canadiens for 4 more years,” Eller wrote on Twitter.
“We are very pleased to have agreed upon a long term agreement with Lars Eller,” general manager Marc Bergevin said in a statement. “He is an important part of our group of young veterans.
“He has a tremendous work ethic and a great attitude. He is the type of player you can rely on for his play at both ends of the rink. 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 made up for disappointing regular season production, 12 goals and 14 assists in 77 games, with a strong playoff performance. He had five goals and eight assists in 17 games as the Canadiens advanced to the NHL Eastern Conference final.
He averaged 15:57 of ice time per game and led the team’s forwards in hits with 130.
The six-foot-two 215-pound Eller has 45 goals and 103 points in 286 career NHL games. He was drafted 13th overall by St. Louis in 2007 and was acquired by Montreal on June 17, 2010 along with Ian Schultz for goalie Jaroslav Halak.
Next up for Montreal is star defenceman P.K. Subban, who is scheduled for arbitration on Aug. 1.
© The Canadian Press, 2014