According to The Athletic’s Eric Duhatschek, Pierre LeBrun, and Michael Russo, the Washington Capitals “would entertain” offers for center Lars Eller “if it could get help on defense” ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline on Friday, March 3 at 3 PM ET.
Duhatschek wrote: “Washington, I’m told, would entertain offers for him if it could get help on defense, where the injury to John Carlson has really thinned the ranks.” The Athletic noted that the Los Angeles Kings are deep on the right side and could move either Matt Roy or Sean Walker.
Since center Nicklas Backstrom and right-wing Tom Wilson made their season debuts after undergoing respective surgeries in the offseason, Washington has seen its forward lineup overflow as they had to assign center Aliaksei Protas to the AHL on January 7, the day before the two played their first game, and have had to scratch one regular forward from the first half of the season in every game they have played with both available.
Eller, center Dylan Strome, and left-wing Anthony Mantha (who was scratched for four of the last six games before subbing in for injured captain Alex Ovechkin in the team’s 6-2 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday) have all taken turns sitting in the press box since Backstrom and Wilson returned.
Eller can become an unrestricted free agent after this season and comes at a $3.5 million salary cap charge.
The 33-year-old has gone scoreless in his last nine games and just seven goals, 15 points, and a 54.8% faceoff-winning percentage in 47 outings overall this season. Eller has averaged 1:48 per game on the penalty kill, which is the second-most on Washington excluding right-wing Connor Brown.
The team could use help on the blueline after John Carlson took a puck to the head in their 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on December 23 and is out indefinitely. The Athletic is among numerous sources who say that the 32-year-old is not expected to return until at least late in the regular season. If he does not play another regular-season game, Washington could have a spare $8 million in salary cap space to use ahead of the trade deadline.
By Harrison Brown