While New Jersey GM Ray Shero noted earlier this week that they may not be too active in free agency the rest of the offseason in order to keep some spots open for their youngsters, one potential exception to that is long-time Devil Patrik Elias. Shero told Chris Ryan of NJ.com that the team is still in contact with his agent Allan Walsh as recently as a couple of days ago to check in on how Elias’ recovery from offseason knee surgery on May 11th is going.
Whether a deal or not gets done is dependent on how his rehab goes over the next couple of months. Elias has indicated to the Devils that he would like to return for one final season and also that he only wants to play with New Jersey.
Elias missed all but 16 games last season due to knee problems. He was still fairly productive in those games, picking up a pair of goals with six assists while logging just 15:26 per game. Elias was still a key member of the Devils throughout the year as they kept him around for team meetings and to mentor their younger players, a role he would likely reprise if he is brought back for next season.
The 40 year old Elias has played parts of 20 NHL seasons, all with the Devils after being drafted in the second round (51st overall) in the 1994 draft. He has a total of 408 goals and 617 assists in 1,240 games in that span and is New Jersey’s all-time franchise leader in goals, assists, points, and shots on goal.
Elias earned $5.5MM last season and would undoubtedly need to take a sizable pay cut to return to the team. We ranked him 49th on our Top 50 UFA list with him taking a salary of just $2MM with potential bonuses of $2MM (that would depend on games played and production).