Just like with Martin Brodeur’s Player Preview, trying to go over all of Patrik Elias’ illustrious, Hall-of-Fame-worthy career just simply would not do any justice. He will (hopefully) be a lifetime New Jersey Devil and will certainly have his number retired when his career is over. A veteran’s career can be very accomplished but sometimes the recent past is more important that the distant past. The Patrik Elias Player Preview definitely falls under that category, much like Martin Brodeur’s did too.
Things almost got ugly between Patrik and Devils fans at one time. In 2006, Elias and the Devils couldn’t agree to a new deal and Elias hit free agency. He agreed verbally to the New York Rangers (yes, THOSE New York Rangers) on the first day of free agency. Luckily, Rangers GM Glen Sather wouldn’t agree to a no-move clause and the deal fell through. He also had the opportunity to go to the Montreal Canadiens and the Chicago Blackhawks but turned those down as well. Eventually, he called up Lou Lamoriello and they agreed to a 7-year, $42 million contract that included a no-move clause.
As his contract was expiring at the end of this season, Devils fans started to become worried once again. After all, the only thing separating him and the Rangers at one point was a no-move clause. With teams allowed to begin negotiations on July 1st, the Devils immediately went to Elias first. They worked out a contract quickly as there was never really any doubt between the two sides. On July 4th, Elias signed a 3-year, $16.5 million, 35+ type contract. Elias can be quoted in saying that he doesn’t think that this is his last contract, either.
What can we expect?
As always with Elias, we can expect very high point totals. Even though he is on the back end of his career, he has almost matched his points with the amount of games played the last two seasons. During their Stanley Cup Finals run, he posted 78 points in 81 games including 52 assists. With the lockout-shortened season last year, he put up 36 points in 48 games. Up until very recently he played with the Czech Republic in the World Championships every year.
Elias is an obvious first-liner, he has been one for most of his career. He is the best LW on the team right now and is arguably the best centerman on the team, too. The obvious choice would to stick him on a line with Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr and watch the point production flow between the three. Compared to the chemistry between him and Travis Zajac (and there’s a lot there), there is even more between him and Jaromir Jagr.
There will be a lot expected of him this season, and it is extremely likely that Elias will live up to the expectations. Just like old times.