Tiger in the Spotlight: Lars Eller’s Effectiveness A Bright Spot During Capitals’ Struggles

1199946497_slidePatrick McDermott/NHLI via Getty Images

The Capitals’ struggles over the last several games have been a blemish on an otherwise strong season, and have highlighted a number of issues the team and its coaching staff will be looking to address for the rest of the season. Despite the defensive struggles and offensive letdowns, center Lars Eller has been one of the team’s most productive players during that span.

Prior to the All-Star break, Eller had recorded 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 49 games played, with a plus-4 rating, a 9.7% shot percentage, and averaging 17:15 of ice time a night. In the seven games since the Caps returned from the break, Eller has recorded six points (three goals, three assists), with a 17.6% Shot Percentage and averaging slightly less ice time (16:44). But just how effective has No. 20 been for the Capitals during a seven-game stretch in which they have gone 3-4-0?

At all strengths, Eller is tied with T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov for second in Goals Scored, ranks sixth in Assists, fifth in Shot Percentage, second in takeaways, and seventh in Faceoff Percentage (43.36%). At 5-on-5, Eller ranks second in Goals Scored, and is tied with six other players for the most points (4) at 5-on-5. In terms of Shot Percentage at even-strength, Eller has an impressive 23.08, which ranks him fourth overall among Capitals skaters.

Eller’s ability to protect the puck in traffic and maintain control has also seen him tie Garnet Hathaway for the team lead in penalties drawn with four, and tie with John Carlson for the most takeaways on the team with five. Overall, Eller has 33 points (14 goals, 19 assists) on the season, putting him on pace to break his career-high of 38 points and 18 goals, set during the Capitals’ Stanley Cup-winning season of 2017-18. Eller currently ranks eighth on the Caps in Points and third in Faceoff Win Percentage, having won 52.5% of his draws this season.

While the Capitals’ struggles have been difficult to stomach at times, Eller’s individual success and effectiveness, along with linemates Richard Panik and Carl Hagelin, has been a much-needed boost that has likely helped prevent the team from suffering more than their four losses. If the team is to have success come the Stanley Cup Playoffs, they will need Eller, a key performer during their Stanley Cup run in 2018, to continue the roll he has been on since returning from the All-Star break.

By Michael Fleetwood

*Statistics via Natural StatTrick and Hockey Reference

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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4 Responses to Tiger in the Spotlight: Lars Eller’s Effectiveness A Bright Spot During Capitals’ Struggles

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think those extra skating training sessions he did over the summer are paying huge dividends. He’s stronger on his skates and he’s out-maneuvering players when he has the puck. He has this left-right fake he’s been doing this year when circling the offensive zone that’s giving him space to make moves.

  2. James Lewis says:

    He’s been the Caps’ best player for weeks. But, hey, let’s focus on when Ovi might score his 700th.

  3. Marky says:

    Lars Eller is awesome. The rest of his teammates should follow his example.

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