The New Jersey Devils have reportedly agreed to terms with franchise veteran star forward Patrick Elias on a new contract. According to NHL.com the deal is for 3 years and is worth $5.5 million per season, Elias had made about $6 million per year in his last contract with the team (www.nhl.com).
Elias is a key offensive player and a leader in the locker room. He will be the second highest paid player on the team going into next season behind Ilya Kovalchuk. Elias is the Devils leader in franchise history in both goals (375) and assists (555) and is a fan favorite having won 2 Stanley Cups with the team (www.nhl.com).
This is going to be hugely popular news with the fan base of the Devils, myself included, I am very happy that Elias will be in a Devils uniform now for 3 more years. He is integral to the chemistry of this team and is still a dangerously skilled offensive player. His production is needed in the Devils offensive unit as well as on the Power Play unit. Elias also brings stability to a changing Devils roster, especially if David Clarkson leaves via free agency.
The fans made it known to the Devils front office that we wanted to see Patrick Elias back with the team. I had written previously that if the negotiations did not go well and Elias tested the waters I could see him wanting to stay in the Eastern Conference and that would have been a disaster for the Devils to see him in another uniform.
I also compare this signing to Derek Jeter with the Yankees, this contract represents more of what Elias has done for the team in the past. His performance and loyalty to the organization made this contract possible, and it is a good day for the Devils and their fans to have this star player remain on our team.
The Devils now have about $12 million in cap space that they can use to focus on other players such as Adam Henrique, who is a restricted free agent (www.nhl.com). It is also reported today that the Devils are on the list of the final three teams negotiating with Danny Briere, recently released via a compliance buyout by the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Devils were very focused on getting the Elias deal done because it was important to the organization and their fans. The Devils front office can now focus their attention over the next critical 3 week period in the summer offseason on upgrading the roster further in anticipation for the start of training camp.
I look forward to watching Patrick Elias finish his career with the New Jersey Devils. Happy 4th of July to everyone and their families, especially our armed forces members and their families.