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01-29-2013, 07:24 PM
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Hi guys. Just hopping on to give a few observations regarding my piece on Eller.

First, it would be wrong to read it as "Eller is the new Bulis". They're not the same player, Eller has more offensive upside.
My point is that a player needs a chair, needs to have a precise role within a team in order to be successful. In order to achieve that, a player has to brings forward a "dimension", as Trevor Timmins described me several times. By dimension I mean that among the NHL skills a player has, one has to stand out so that the player can build his hockey identity around it and always rely on it. A guy like Bulis, who had some qualities, couldn't really find a role, either in Washington or in Montreal, because nothing was really standing out. His hockey identity always left Bob Gainey wondering.
Who knows, maybe a guy like Louis Leblanc could face that too at the NHL level, we'll see.
As for Eller, he clearly has some skills - again, superior skills than Bulis. But so far neither his speed, his shot, his defensive potential and clearly not his vision, no dimension has helped him establishing his role.
Part of that job is the coach's. He's got to help the kid pan out. I'm fully aware that bouncing the kid around isn't helping his stability. But Eller is now at his 3rd coach in Montreal and his situation remains murky. He's class of 2007, it's time for him to step up. And it's time for his fans to stop seeing it simply as a Desharnais vs Eller debate.
I like the kid and I want him to succeed. But for now, what I see is a player who tends to do too much, who keeps the puck for too long who and doesn't see his linemates often enough. Maybe there's a sense in him that he wants to prove that he's got the talent and that he can do it all by himself.
So what now?
Pacioretty is out for a month and Eller has now a chance to define his identity with a clearer offensive mandate albeit as a winger. He's playing with good players so it's up to him. If Galchenyuk runs with a centerman job, Eller's future in Montreal will have likely be as a winger. He's got to be open to make the switch and force his way into the top 6. I bet that down the road, Michel Therrien will be happy to have an option when Bourque hits the snooze button...

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