New Jersey Devils veteran Patrik Elias has missed all but 13 games this season due to a knee injury, and it’s unlikely Elias will be back anytime soon.
Devils GM Ray Shero announced Tuesday that Elias, 39, underwent a procedure on his right knee at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.
"The surgery was successful and he will be out indefinitely,” Shero said in a release. “There is no current timetable for his return, but we are optimistic that Patrik will return this season. This was a decision that was made based on conversations and in conjunction with our training staff, team doctors and Patrik.”
Elias, who has scored one goal and five points this season, is in the final season of a three-year, $16.5-million contract he signed with the Devils in July 2013. Even though the Devils are hopeful Elias will be able to get back into the lineup before the season ends, that he’s again on the injured list doesn’t bode well for the veteran winger to continue his playing career beyond this season. Elias has missed 50 games and counting since signing his extension.
Over the past few seasons, Elias has watched his production slowly dip. After scoring 18 goals and 53 points in 65 games during the 2013-14 season, Elias was held to just 13 goals and 34 points in 69 games this past season. His current production in his limited outings is the worst of his career.
Prior to training camp, Elias told NorthJersey.com’s Tom Gulitti that he wasn’t approaching this season as if it were his last in the league.
“I hope not,” he told Gulitti. “You never know. Whatever happens. If it is, it is. I still like to play, obviously. Time goes by quickly. I enjoy it and as long as I enjoy it, I'm not going to feel like I'm not going to play again.”
But the writing may be on the wall for Elias. With his deal up at season’s end and a Devils team that has undergone a big regime change in the past six months, Elias’ only chance to come back to New Jersey may be on a short-term, low-cost deal. If he doesn’t like what the Devils are offering, he could go elsewhere, but it seems hard to imagine Elias heading anywhere else for the final days of his career.
A 19-year veteran, Elias has spent his entire career with the Devils and is the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (407), assists (615), points (1,022). He’s only 46 games behind Ken Daneyko (1,283) as the franchise’s all-time games played leader. Elias won two Stanley Cups with the Devils in four trips to the final.