Lars Eller reported to an abbreviated Canadiens training camp last January in the best shape of his life — fitter stronger and faster than at any previous time in his young NHL career.

Next month when the Habs open camp for 2013-14 Eller expects to be superior in every way.

The 24-year-old centre/forward enjoyed a breakout season in the lockout-shortened campaign his 30 points in 46 games two points better than what he recorded in 79 games the year before.

If there was any bitter residue from the Canadiens having traded goalie Jaroslav Halak to St. Louis in June 2010 to acquire Eller the forward’s performance last season should have erased it.

And then suddenly it came to a sickening bloody end at the Bell Centre in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Eller flattened by Ottawa defenceman Eric Gryba at the Canadiens blue line.

Eller was knocked colder than a banker’s heart suffering a concussion broken nose and shattered teeth that marked the beginning of the Canadiens’ playoff end. Montreal fell quietly to the Senators in five games its roster decimated by injuries as the series wore on.

Eller didn’t remember anything about the check in its immediate aftermath and he still doesn’t today.

“I’ve seen the replay which is the closest I’m going to come to remembering it” Eller said on Saturday. “Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t remember. It was a shocking incident for everybody watching. I haven’t really thought much about it since. It’s in the past.”

Eller made a remarkable recovery in the days following the check returning to near game shape in solo practice before the Canadiens were bounced by the Senators.