The Washington Capitals re-signed center Lars Eller to a five-year contract extension worth $3.5 million annually, the team announced Saturday. The full payout for the deal, which runs through 2022-23, will be $17.5 million.
Eller, 28, has recorded 11 goals and 17 assists in 53 games for the Capitals this season. He’s primarily been used as their No. 3 center behind Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, along with getting some minutes on special teams.
The forward was set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer with the expiration of his current four-year, $14 million contract. This extension keeps him at the exact same cap hit for another five years, although it’ll take up an increasingly small percentage of the salary cap as it goes up.
The Capitals acquired Eller from the Canadiens in 2016 for a pair of second-round draft picks. He’s been reliable as a bottom-six center throughout his career, posting between 25 and 30 points every season since 2010-11. That’s something Washington clearly values, although it’s fair to wonder about the risk with a commitment that runs until he’s almost 34.
Washington now has $62.4 million committed to nine forwards, four defensemen, and one goaltender for the 2018-19 season, according to Cap Friendly. The team still needs to re-sign restricted free agents Philipp Grubauer, Tom Wilson, Madison Bowey, and Devante Smith-Pelly. No. 1 defenseman John Carlson will also be an unrestricted free agent, so this won’t be an easy summer.
Source: SB Nation
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