Eller Opens Up About Possibility Of Being Traded, Approach To Deadline
Washington Capitals center Lars Eller discusses potentially being traded at the deadline and what his mentality is going into next week.
ARLINGTON, V.A. — As he sits in his stall at MedStar Capitals Iceplex, Lars Eller is well aware that his time with the Washington Capitals may be coming to an end.
On Thursday, he showed up to the rink to see two longtime teammates and fellow pending UFAs Dmitry Orlov and Garnet Hathaway traded away to the Boston Bruins as the team begins to sell ahead of the 2023 Trade Deadline. And with March 3 right around the corner, Eller knows he may be next.
"It was unexpected. I skated with them [Thursday] morning and all the sudden, you come to the rink at night and they're not there. I've seen it before ,so it's not unfamiliar, but it still sucks. It's not fun for anybody you know? Like you have a sense of a little bit failing each other and your team to some extent. But at the same time, we got 20 games left and there's plenty to play fo, but it's a business at the end of the day and we know it's always a possibility and changes are inevitable."
Discussing his future and where things stand, Eller said it's crossed his mind and that the circumstances are no secret with six days left until the deadline. After all, a drop-off in consistency and his pending UFA status has led to ongoing talks of his likely departure. However he wouldn't look too far ahead.
"Just try to stay in the moment, stay in the present," he said simply.
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To take the pressure off, Eller cut off his social media from hockey and isn't looking at or listening to the outside speculation or rumor mill. Instead, he's approaching his next few games before next Friday by simply focusing on the task at hand: getting back in the playoff race, which started with a big 6-3 win on Saturday that snapped a six-game losing skid.
"A long time ago, I cut everything off from hockey. You know, if it happens, it happens and while you're here, you're here," Eller said. "I'm a Capital and everything else is just noise."
The 33-year-old center has been with the club since 2016 and has made his mark as a long-time third line center, top penalty killer and of course, a Stanley Cup hero after scoring the game-winning goal in Game 5 to clinch the title. Over seven years in the District, he has racked up 208 points through 486 career games, though his consistency and drop off in production has led to rumors of his departure as he approaches free agency. He has also hit numerous historic milestones, including playing the second-most games in NHL history among Danish-born players.
While Eller has cherished those memories and his time in Washington, he is not getting caught up in the past and will reflect when a trade actually happens. For now, he wants to live in the moment and shut everything else out.
"We'll cross that bridge if we get there," Eller said. "For now, I'm a Capital and we'll see what happens."