Signing potential unrestricted free agent veteran Patrik Elias prior to the puck drop on the annual free agent frenzy on July 5 at high noon wasn’t just a sentimental journey for the New Jersey Devils.
There are two players who definitely should retire wearing the red and black of the Devils. Future Hall of Fame goaltender Martin Brodeur is one and Elias is the other. Both men have always been class acts on the ice as well as company men. They believe in the organization and the principals it was built on.
On the night Brodeur broke the all-time win record, Elias had a milestone of his own, becoming the Devils all-time point leader with an assist. His special moment got overshadowed by Brodeur’s, however, the 37-year-old Czech native took it all in stride and handled it like the consummate professional he is.
Reports this week had Elias and the Devils close to a deal. It was finalized today with the center inking a three-year deal worth $16.5 million.
“To Lou, all my teammates and Devils’ fans,” Elias said in a statement released after the deal was signed. “I’m excited to sign a new contract and be back with New Jersey. This year marks my 17th year with the Devils and it’s very special to be a member of one organization my entire career. We’ve shared some great moments together and I look forward to working with everyone to create new ones. Go Devils!”
Elias’ 930 points tops the list for Devils’ scorers and he is the all-time point getter in the playoffs as well. Even though he is in his late 30s, Elias is worth the $5.5 million cap hit each year. He is still a quality player who brings it game in and game out.
Hopefully, now that Elias’ deal is done, General Manager Lou Lamoriello will explore the numerous free agents available and inject some new blood into the offense-challenged team.
Lamoriello should forget about forward David Clarkson who seems to have delusions of grandeur as far as his market value. Let another team pay through the nose for him. He is not worth more than his previous one which had him at $3 million last year.
The Devils should also think about why former Philadelphia Flyer, Danny Briere was cut loose from their Turnpike rivals in the first place before they continue their rumored pursuit. He was an overpaid player who didn’t earn the big, long-term salary.
Pass on both and shop around.