In the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, the St. Louis Blues picked up Center Lars Eller 13th overall.
Eller was said to be the center that the Blues were waiting for, but when Doug Armstrong was given the chance to acquire goaltender Jaroslav Halak from Montreal in 2010, he jumped at the opportunity.
The Blues were high on Eller, but felt that he was taking too long to develop into their system. With the success of Patrik Berglund and other young players on the Blues, Eller was forced down the depth chart and seemed unnecessary at the time.
Fast forward to 2013, and the Blues may have been wondering if they had made the right call. Halak was suffering in net and Eller was tearing it up in the Eastern Conference.
Lars managed to net 30 points in 46 games, but was brought back to earth and sent to hell in one quick moment.
In a bloody moment that is hard to forget, Eller was sent to the ice in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals when Ottawa Senators defenseman Eric Gryba flattened him on the blue line.
The hit that made national headlines resulted in a broken nose, shattered teeth, a terrible concussion and more blood than some horror movies.
Asked about the hit later, Eller did not remember anything about the check and still does not today.
I’ve seen the replay, which is the closest I’m going to come to remembering it. Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t remember. It was a shocking incident for everybody watching. I haven’t really thought much about it since. It’s in the past.
In the time that followed the hit, Eller seemed to be making an incredible comeback. Now, looking ahead to the 2013-14 season, it appears that Eller is ready to go once again and may be back at the top of his game.
Eller passed all of his neurological tests and started training immediately. Most of his summer was spent in his native Denmark where he focused on dryland conditioning and training.
Now back in Montreal, a place that seems to be easier to find ice to get back in playing shape in August than Denmark, Eller is ready to go.
I feel great, completely healed. I did some more testing in Brossard to make sure everything was back to normal, to make sure there were no symptoms related to the concussion. There haven’t been any.
As a fan of the young center, I hope that Eller is able to get back on the horse and continue his development in the NHL. His ability and skill is something that most players would kill to have and I wish him the best.
LET’S GO BLUES!