The New Jersey Devils have plenty of questions in the 2013 NHL offseason: How much more they can get out of aging players like Martin Brodeur and how much they’re willing pay key younger stars providing just two of them. Both these questions intersect in a complicated way after a 2013 season that was one to forget, with the Devils missing the playoffs for the second time in three years after not missing the postseason once between 1997 and 2010.
As the franchise decides which direction it plans to move, the negotations with two veterans might be the biggest factor in their future trajectory as forwards David Clarkson and Patrik Elias have yet to reach extensions with New Jersey. The 29-year-old Clarkson led the Devils in goals this past season while Elias has helped comprise the heart of the franchise since the mid-1990s.
After New Jersey finished 11th in the Eastern Conference in 2013, both Elias and Clarkson are due to become unrestricted free agents this offseason. At the deflating end of this campaign, Elias answered questions about the possiblity of staying with New Jersey.
“I hope so, I’ve been here my whole career,” Elias told The Star-Ledger. “I’m ready for anything. Sometimes the negotiations are not as easy as it seems.”
A season that started on the other side of New Years with the Devils rushing out to first place in the East with 19 points, now ends with an offseason featuring more questions than answers.
“It’ll be an interesting summer,” Clarkson also told The Star-Ledger. “We have a lot of free agents. We’ll see what is going to happen.”