Lars Eller finally put on a Washington Capitals jersey and met with DC press for the first time Tuesday morning — eleven days after Caps GM Brian MacLellan dealt two second-round picks to acquire him. The Caps plan to use the former Canadiens forward exclusively as the team’s third-line center, replacing Jay Beagle and Marcus Johansson who both played the position at different points last season. Eller was excited about his new opportunity.
“Honestly, it’s been nothing but positive since we got here,” Eller said, after putting his new number 20 jersey on. “I’m sure it’s going to be a great fit for me and my family.”
Eller revealed that Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin was the first player to reach out via text, despite being on vacation in Europe. “I don’t think there were any smiley faces,” Eller said with a laugh, when asked if Ovi included any of his trademark smilies.
The 27-year-old Dane is under contract for the next two seasons and plans to move his wife and young daughter to Washington before the season starts. Eller’s three-year-old daughter Sophia had a special request. “She asked for a pink room so I’m going to try and get her that at least.”
Eller’s full transcript with reporters is below.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 5, 2016
What brings you to DC?
Lars Eller: Yeah, I’m going to be moving here with my wife and my three-year-old daughter. We wanted to come in and see the city and try to find a place, try to find a preschool, and stuff like that. That’ll make the transition a little smoother, to get those things done right before the season starts. …Just to see the city. I got to meet one of the guys yesterday. I spent some time with Karl Alzner yesterday. And just to see the rink here today.
Being here does it make it feel more real?
Lars Eller: Yeah, it does. It definitely does. Obviously, I spent 6 years in Montreal – it’s like your second home almost. You come to a new organization, a new city, new people, there’s a lot of new things, you come get your questions answered and just get a little familiar with everything. It feels really good.
What are your first impressions of being traded to the Capitals?
Lars Eller: Honestly, it’s been nothing but positive since we got here. I’m sure it’s going to be a great fit for me and my family.
Did you see any of the Fourth of July celebrations in DC?
Lars Eller: No, not really. I was not that familiar with the traditions of July 4. [laughing] I probably missed out on a few things.
How was it meeting with Karl Alzner? Did he give you advice on where most guys live?
Lars Eller: Yeah, exactly. That’s what he did. Since I was traded, I spoke to a handful of guys with a few days. I spoke a bit with TJ Oshie who I know from our time in St. Louis. We spent quite some time together there. So I know him well. I talked to a few other guys. Ovi was actually the first guy to text me. I think it was a very short time after I got traded, which was nice. I feel like we have been welcomed with open arms here.
What do you tell your daughter about having to move to a new city?
Lars Eller: Yeah. Well, what do you tell her? You’re going to be moving. You’re going to get into a new house. She seems excited. We’ll see once we get here. Obviously it’s a big transition. She asked for a pink room so I’m going to try and get her that at least.
Have you had a chance to meet with Barry Trotz or Brian MacLellan?
Lars Eller: I haven’t met them face-to-face, but I obviously spoke with Brian when I got traded. I also spoke with Barry that same night, had a long chat with him. I feel really good about this.
Does it feel like a fresh start? You said you didn’t have fun playing in Montreal at times.
Lars Eller: Yeah, it does. I’m super excited about this. there’s so many good things about this. This is a team that obviously can compete for a cup. they have all the pieces that’s needed to be right there and I think it’s just a matter of probably putting it together at the right time. But like I said they have all the right pieces. the experience is a lot more fun to play on a winning culture than it is the other way around. I really enjoyed my time in Montreal. I learned a lot. I’m excited to join the Caps and turn the page and start a new chapter.
Are you paying attention to what’s happening in Montreal?
Lars Eller: No, I pulled the plug.
What did Ovi say to you in the text? Did he include smiley faces?
Lars Eller: I don’t think there were any smiley faces. [laughing] He sent me a text and it said, “Welcome to the team and we’re excited to have you.” I think it was a nice gesture of him and a couple other guys reached out to me also. Makes you feel good.
Is Montreal your home right now?
Lars Eller: Yeah, that’s where we’re going to go back to tomorrow. I’ll spend most of my time there. I’ll spend a couple of weeks in Denmark as well in July, but Montreal is where we spend a majority of our summer.
Do you have a plan of when you’re going to move over here?
Lars Eller: There’s still some logistics to sort out. I expect to be here in the beginning of September and get familiar with whichever guys are here and get started early.
Is there a story behind you choosing the number 20?
Lars Eller: I had number 20 when I was with St.Louis farm team. So that was the last time I played in the states with number 20. I liked it then and just figure it was available and yeah.
.@Eller_89 #20 👌 pic.twitter.com/4LZ2EtCaax
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 5, 2016
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