The New Jersey Devils have a big decision to make this offseason, as they consider whether or not to bring back unrestricted free agent Patrik Elias. There could be many teams interested in the services of the veteran forward, which may drive his price out of reach. The Devils are saddled with monster contracts for Ilya Kovalchuk and Travis Zajac already, which may limit their ability to offer Elias anything more than the $6 million per season he was getting on his last contract. If they do end up losing Elias, it would mark a second consecutive offseason in which one of the top three scorers from the previous season has departed. After losing Zach Parise last year, the Devils may make more of an effort to keep Elias around, and given his accomplishments with the team that makes perfect sense.
Elias is the Devils career leader in goals, assists and points, and has won two Stanley Cups. In the last two seasons, he has played in his 1000th career game and recorded his 900th career point. The 14 goals and 36 points he managed this season showed he still has something left in the tank, and the fact that he was able to play in all 48 games shows he can still stay healthy too. He led the Devils in goals and points, and has established chemistry with Zajac and David Clarkson. The Devils also have to try and bring Clarkson back, and as a result one of the two players could start the 2013-14 season in different surroundings. If the price works, letting Elias finish out his career in New Jersey would be a great move.