Stand by for a new stream of Lars Eller/Lars Ulrich jokes: as Jeremy Rutherford reported this afternoon and our own Dr Frankenweed posted in the FanPosts, the Blues have re-called center Lars Eller from Peoria. The first round pick from the 2007 draft is expected to make his NHL debut tomorrow against the Calgary Flames.
On the strength of eight assists, Eller has posted 11 points in 11 AHL games with Peoria. He is a slick, playmaking center with good ice vision.
While it hurts to see Andy McDonald out of the lineup after mashing his face into the boards on Saturday night, it is good to see that management is going to replace a skill player with a skill player rather than trying to force a grinder into a scoring spot on the top two lines. In the recent past the move might have been to push Silent Jay McClement or another checking-line guy up to fill the gap on a scoring line. Persoanlly, McClement is doing such a great Selke-like job as the third-line anchor, it'd be a mistake to take him out of that role.
Finally, it seems, the Blues have enough skilled young talent, and management has enough confidence in them, that we'll see them injected into skill-line jobs when the opportunity presents itself.
The Blues have struggled at home this year and no one, not even the staff or players, seem to know what's wrong. Here's hoping that some fresh blood on one of the top lines is a key to a new attitude. The return of T.J. Oshie and carlo Colaiacovo tomorrow couldn't hurt, either.
With a full season of experience in the Swedish Elite League playing against that country's best competition (12 goals and 17 assists in 48 games) as well as performing well against AHL talent, it seems likely that Eller will be able to play a skill game in the NHL, the only question is whether that begins tomorrow or if he ends up back in Peoria to develop more once McDonald returns.