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Should the Maple Leafs Target Lars Eller as a Free Agent?

As the Toronto Maple Leafs work to put together a roster for the regular season, why might Lars Eller become a possible free-agent signing?

In a recent episode of The Hockey Writers Maple Leafs Lounge, Toronto Maple Leafs’ writers Peter Baracchini and Jim Parsons discussed potential free-agent targets at forward. One player that Parsons highlighted in the conversation was Lars Eller. He believed Eller could be a good pick-up for the Maple Leafs.

In the video below, listen to Baracchini and Parsons discuss why Eller could be a valuable addition to the Maple Leafs and how he could fit into the team’s plans.

Eller Could Answer the Maple Leafs Need for Forward Depth

As the Maple Leafs assess their options in the free-agent market, finding the right balance of talent and affordability becomes crucial. Sure there are big-name signings that would generate excitement. That said, it’s vital to consider middle-six depth options that can provide stability and contribute to the team’s success.

Lars Eller – A Smart and Versatile Player

Parsons suggested that Eller could be a potential target for the Maple Leafs. Eller brings a variety of qualities that make him an appealing option. He’s a player who fits well within the team’s system and could come at a reasonable price. The Athletic projected his potential contract value to be around $1.3 million for one year or $1.6 million for a two-year deal.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Anderson, Murray, Matthews & Toffoli

What Could Eller Bring to the Team?

In the discussion, Parsons noted that Eller could contribute in four key ways:

Contribution One: Eller Could Bring the Maple Leafs Reliability

Eller is known for his consistency and reliability on the ice. He’s smart and his decision-making would add to the team’s reliable play. He can play a responsible game, which makes him a trustworthy player.

Contribution Two: Eller Could Bring Penalty Killing and Faceoff Success

The Maple Leafs have emphasized the importance of improving their penalty kill. Here, Eller’s experience and effectiveness fit right in. He would be a valuable asset when the team is a man down. Additionally, he is also proficient in the faceoff circle. similar to a player like Ryan O’Reilly, Eller could provide the team with more possession opportunities.

Contribution Three: Eller Could Bring Championship Experience

Eller’s won a Stanley Cup with the Capitals. That winning resume would add valuable postseason experience to the Maple Leafs. He understands what it would take to succeed in high-pressure situations. That experience could prove beneficial in the team’s quest for playoff success.

Contribution Four: Eller Could Bring Versatility

While Eller would likely come in as a fourth-line center, he can play higher up in the lineup. He’d be able to elevate his game and contribute in higher roles when called upon. His versatility provides the team with additional flexibility in their lineup.

Related: Should the Maple Leafs Trade for the Flames Tyler Toffoli?

The Maple Leafs Should Already Know Eller Well

The Maple Leafs have faced Eller many times during his tenure with the Montreal Canadiens. That gives them firsthand knowledge of his abilities. This familiarity could help him with a smooth transition if he were signed as a free agent.

Why Eller Could Be a Potential Fit with the Maple Leafs

If Toronto doesn’t re-sign Ryan O’Reilly, Eller would fill the space as a reliable center. His skill set and experience provide a player who could jump higher in the lineup if needed. The idea of adding Eller aligns with the team’s desire to bolster their depth and maintain cost-effectiveness.

The Bottom Line

As the Maple Leafs explore their options in the free-agent market, Eller might become a compelling target. He brings an affordable price tag; he’s versatile; he has championship experience; and, the team knows him already.

Whether the team goes after Eller could depend on several issues. That said, he’d be a strong option because he could provide depth, reliability, and a player who could step up if needed.

Who knows how the market might unfold? But, if Parsons is right, Eller could help the Maple Leafs bolster their forward group.

Related: Maple Leafs’ Matt Murray’s Feeling the Down Side of NHL Hockey



  1. afp1961

    June 24, 2023 at 6:55 am

    Eller is a good depth forward but way way down on the priority list right now. They must figure out how to fill out the top nine and then, based upon what they have done Treliving decides how to fill out the fourth line. Remember Kampf is also a 4th line C that can be signed for roughly the same amount….and is a known commodity.

  2. Steve, Toronto

    June 24, 2023 at 8:39 am

    No disrespect Mr. OP but what difference does it make? If you, like too many others, are resigned to “running it back” and simply filling in the UFA spots with new and cheaper spare parts, how can you honestly expect us not to go backwards?

    Admittedly, I don’t envy our new GM and the job he will have to do to turn this mess around. Massive contracts with leverage, an AHL team full of retreads on NHL contracts, little in the way of legitimate NHL ready prospects, a shortage of draft picks and various other contracts that need to be buried or bought out leaves this franchise in terrible shape. Simply filling roster spots pretty much insures that we will contiue to regress as a group.

    I don’t have the benefit of an entire article to address this, but, isn’t it time to take a step back and actually face the reality of what’s wrong with this team and begin the laborious task of trying to fix it? We can not and will not win with this group the way it is constructed.

    • gfinale

      June 24, 2023 at 8:56 am


  3. gfinale

    June 24, 2023 at 8:53 am

    “Eller has been one of the best third line centers since ~2017” <– meanwhile the Leafs have been paying 3.5 for Kerfoot who isn't anywhere near as good. O'Reilly is simply much too expensive for 3C..unless one of the top 3 cap hits is traded before July 1 and even then he's still got to be fair price and years..

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