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02-20-2013, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by LePoche69 View Post
I would go with Eller.
Eller might do fine on the wing in a shut-down role. I think he'd be fine, even. But then, what happens if there's an injury? Move up Moen? That pretty much decimates a line offensively.

What happens if Prust has a series of bad games and it becomes clear he needs a limited role on the 4th line for awhile? Eller's perfect to fill in. Or, if Galchenyuk hits a wall.

Point is: Montreal's unlikely to have a healthy top-9 for the entire season. Eller figures into the top-9 and can play anywhere there as it stands, and he'll likely fill in holes created by injury or slump for the entire season. If you move Gionta, who's performing well in a shut-down, moving-the-puck-up-ice capacity, then the team is stretched thin. One injury will change the way the team plays; one slump leaves the coach with no option but to continue with the set top-9.

The team has 10 forwards capable of playing top-9 minutes right now. Two are rookies. One is a player that's generally played fourth minutes in his career. A number of the players are injury prone and/or prone to slumps. There's no need to create room for Eller, nor is there a need to remove a consistent vet who can play tough minutes from a team that needs to shelter a significant portion of its top-9 (Desharnais, Pacioretty, Galchenyuk, Gallagher all have benefited significantly from sheltered minutes).

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