May 30, 2012; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils center Patrik Elias during game one of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals against the Los Angeles Kings at the Prudential Center. The Kings won 1-0 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Patrik Elias Reaches Milestone in Montreal; Best Devils Forward Ever?

It doesn’t matter who he plays with, and it doesn’t matter how long he has played.

New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias has always been consistently productive.

So, it makes sense that on Sunday night, Elias registered a point in all three Devils’ goals, earning his 900 for his career. The 36-year-old forward scored a deflection goal in the second period and added two assists in the second and third period as New Jersey lost, 4-3, in overtime to the Montreal Canadiens.

As the years have gone by and players have come in and out of New Jersey, Elias has been one of the few constants, along with goalie Martin Brodeur.

Drafted by New Jersey in 1994, Elias has been a part of all three Stanley Cups that the organization has won, and served a short stint as the team’s captain in 2006.

Elias famously played on the ‘A-Line’ with Petr Sykora and Jason Arnott in his early days with the Devils, but has since been one of the leading point-scorers for New Jersey every season, usually playing on the second line.

Since the 1998 to 2003, Elias led the Devils in points in every season, including  career-high 96 points in 2000-2001. From 1998 until this year, Elias has finished in the top five in points every season.

He has registered 363 career goals and 537 helpers in his 17-year career in New Jersey.

With Elias being part of a small group of players that played for the Devils throughout their entire career, he has to be considered one of, in not the, best players in the history of the storied franchise.

Of course, Elias made the famous back-handed, no-look pass to Jason Arnott in overtime of game six of the 2000 Stanley Cup final to give the Devils their second championship.

If there is one knock on Elias, it’s that he verbally agreed to sign with the New York Rangers as an unrestricted free agent in 2006, but the deal fell through when general manager Glen Sather refused to grant him a no-trade clause.

At this rate, Elias has a serious chance to earn his 1,000th point some point in the near future, and that would likely come as the previous 900 have: in red and black.

Hell, at this rate, it doesn’t seem like Elias will ever retire.

What is for sure, though, is that he has cemented his place in New Jersey forever, and one day, his no. 26 will be hanging in the rafters at Prudential Center with other Devils’ greats.

 

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