Patrik Elias has announced his retirement from the New Jersey Devils and the National Hockey League. He has not played a game since April 9, 2016 against the Toronto Maple Leafs when he had a goal and two assists. He has been battling a knee injury throughout the off season and beyond.
Elias, who is the Devils’ all-time leading scorer in goals (408), assists (617) and total points (1,025) – surpassing John MacLean on St. Patrick’s Day 2009 to become the Devils top points getter – will take one last lap for the Devils. He will participate in the pre-game warmup on Saturday, April 8 at Prudential Center against the New York Islanders.
Elias played in 1,240 career regular season games and 162 playoff games (in which he tallied 125 points, including the primary assist on Jason Arnott’s double overtime goal in game six of the 2000 Stanley Cup Finals against the Dallas Stars that clinched the franchise’s second Cup).
According to Jimmy Hascup of USA Today Sports, his best season came in 2000-01 when he reached 40 goals and 96 points and led the lead in plus/minus with a plus-45. He was named to the NHL’s first All-Star Team that year. He also played in four mid-season All-Star Games (2000, 2002, 2011 and 2015) and was a member of the NHL All-Rookie Team in 1997-98.
The 40 year old left winger from Trebic, Czechoslovakia was drafted by the Devils in the second round (51st overall) in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. He played his entire 21 year career in a Devils uniform.
In addition to his two Stanley Cups in 2000 and 2003, Patty also participated in four Olympic Games with the Czech Republic in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014. He won a bronze medal in 2006 in Torino.
In a selfish way, I am glad that Patty retired as a Devil. Seeing him in another uniform would have been just as difficult as when Martin Brodeur suited up for the St. Louis Blues. I would have understood it based on the situation, should Elias have wanted to play longer, but it still would have felt strange.
The game on April 8 against the Isles should be very emotional. To say Patrik Elias meant a lot to this franchise would be an understatement. He was a huge part of the mini-dynasty the Devils put together in the early 2000s when they were arguably second to only the Detroit Red Wings in terms of success. He played in the Stanley Cup Finals in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2012 with the club and played a big part in getting to all four of those championship rounds.
Patty was to the offensive side of the Devils record books what Marty was to the goaltending side. They both rewrote their side of the books in their own name and, though Elias did not rewrite the NHL record books as Marty did (Patty had to compete with Wayne Gretzky’s marks), he still left his mark on the league.
What also cannot be understated is the class and humility which he showed throughout his career. He played the game as a true gentleman and that is something that he will be respected for around the NHL, not just in New Jersey.
Good luck to Patrik Elias as he heads into a much deserved retirement. He will remain an all-time great and a source of pride for the Devils. Next up should be getting number 26 up in the Prudential Center rafters to join the list of Devils immortals where he belongs.