Patrik Elias is not ready to end his playing career with the New Jersey Devils. And he certainly does not want a season like the 2015-16 one to be his swan song.
Elias was limited to 16 games this past campaign due to arthroscopic knee surgery, recording two goals and six assists. The 40-year-old is slated to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but only is interested in skating for the Devils.
“He desperately wants to play one more year,” agent Allan Walsh told Sportsnet on Wednesday. “We’re not talking to other teams. If Patrik is able to play at the level he expects himself to play, if he can contribute to a team, I think New Jersey would very much love to have him back.”
Elias, who underwent another procedure on his right knee in May, has no interest in playing for any team other than the one that selected him in the second round of the 1994 draft. Should the Devils elect not to offer him a contract, the veteran likely will retire.
“I would say it’s a similar situation to what Teemu Selanne went through with Anaheim for several years,” Walsh said. “When he felt his knee would hold up and he felt good, he told Anaheim, ‘I’m ready to commit to another year.’ And then they worked out a deal.”
A native of Trebic, Czech Republic, Elias made his NHL debut in 1995-96, appearing in one game for New Jersey, before recording two goals and three assists in 17 contests the following season. He stuck with the team for good in 1997-98, registering 18 tallies and 37 points in 74 games, and went on to eclipse the 20-goal plateau 10 times – notching a career-high 40 in 2000-01.
Elias is a four-time All-Star and helped New Jersey capture the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003. He is the Devils’ all-time leader in goals (408), assists (617), points (1,025) power-play tallies (113) and game-winners (80) and trails John Madden (17) by one in short-handed goals and Ken Daneyko (1,283) by 43 in games played.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Elias also tops New Jersey in many postseason categories, including goals (45), assists (80), points (125), power-play tallies (21) and game-winners (six) while again placing second to Daneyko (175) in games played with 162.