Patrik Elias has also been spending time with the New Jersey Devils at the practice facility. He spent parts of 2019 and 2020 with the Devils. Obviously, it’s a little different for Elias than it is for Zajac. Elias still spends most of his time in Czechia, and he’s coached teams out there including those who go to the World Junior Championships. However, it seems more likely his long-term coaching future is in New Jersey.
He’s talked about his desire to be a coach before. It’s now been five years since he retired from a long playing career, and it might be time to get back on the bench full time. He shows he can get through to the younger generation, and the team seems to respond to him when he’s on the ice. Nobody is looking for him to take over as the head coach ala Martin St. Louis, but Elias would be a great assistant coach for the time being.
The Devils could use someone who can help the dynamic young players learn how to score on a consistent basis. That’s what Elias can show them. He learned how to score in so many ways, and he was able to adjust to a changing game. He played in so many systems for so many different head coaches. Elias always thrived. That’s what he can show this team’s core. How do you score on the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, and then the New York Rangers on Saturday?
A team doesn’t want the entire coaching staff to be ex-stars for the franchise, but the Devils have a really good thing going with coaches who could take over.