The Lars Eller arbitration hearing is set for Friday in Toronto. If Las Vegas were to establish such a line, their oddsmakers would make it 20-1 that the two sides will come to an agreement before hand, probably some time on Thursday.
No team wants to wind up having to sit in the same room as one of their players and have to list all of the negatives in his game while defending their position. It’s can be an ugly process that can leading to residual and lingering bad feelings down the road.
This will be Eller’s so-called “bridge contract”. Last season, the final year of a two year deal he signed in 2012 he earned 1.5 million. It is being reported that he is asking for 3.1 million dollars a year while the Canadiens have countered at 1.65 million.
Unless salary demands are off the chart, which they are not in this case, chances are the two sides saw things off somewhere at the midpoint, which means Eller will probably find himself with a two year deal at around 2.5 million a season.
If we need a parallel, consider Chris Kreider of the Rangers. He arrived at a pre-arbitration agreement Tuesday, the day before the hearing date. Kreider was asking for 2.8M and the Rangers 2.05. They arrived at 2.475 million.
Although Eller had an outstanding playoff, during the regular season he has failed to produce consistently and has settled into a third line role. He scored 26 points in 77 games last season but added 5 goals and 13 points in the Canadiens 17 playoff games.
Next up for Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin will be P.K. Subban, August first. This one will be more complicated.
So far nine of the twenty three arbitration cases were settled before the hearing day including five of the six whose scheduled date has come and gone. The only exception was St. Louis forward Vladimir Sobotka. His was uncontested after he signed a contract to play in the KHL The arbitrator ruled that the Blues would have to pay him 2.75 million should he ever return to the NHL.