Patrik Elias

Elias wants to remain a Devil, ‘but I understand the business side’

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Patrik Elias has spent his entire career in New Jersey.

He’s won two Stanley Cups, been a captain and an alternate.

His coach says he’s a Hall of Famer and his goalie, Martin Brodeur, says he “belongs” in New Jersey.

All that said, Elias isn’t sure he’ll be a Devil after this season.

“It’s special for me to play for one team,” he told the New York Times this week. “It would be special to play here my whole career.

“But I understand the business side.”

Elias, 37, is in the final season of a seven-year, $42 million deal ($6 million average annual cap hit) signed in 2006.

His problem, as it is with every impending UFA from New Jersey, is GM Lou Lamoriello’s preferred negotiating style — which is essentially this:

“No talks while we’re playing, get down to brass tacks when the season is done.”

It’s LouLam’s tried and true method, one that came under scrutiny last season after the Devils advanced to the Stanley Cup finals.

Captain Zach Parise left to join Minnesota, and Brodeur flirted with the idea of leaving before agreeing to a two-year deal.

Elias knows he has to play Lamoriello’s game, even if he’s more than willing to listen to offers now.

“We’ve negotiated with Lou before,” he said. “We know that is not the way he approaches it.”

So, what might the future have in store?

A versatile forward that can play center or wing, Elias is having yet another solid statistical campaign (31 points in 42 games) and continues to produce at a high level.

He projects to enter free agency as one of the best veteran forwards available, along with Jarome Iginla, Mike Ribeiro, Pascal Dupuis, Michael Ryder, Derek Roy and Jaromir Jagr.

It appears the X-Factor will be what Lamoriello and the Devils are comfortable paying.

They currently have 15 players under contract for next season and roughly $25 million to work with — but that assumes they spend to the cap, which they aren’t currently (approximately $11 million under this season).

Lamoriello also has four key RFAs to negotiate with — Adam Henrique, Jacob Josefson, Andrei Loktionov and Matt D’Agostini — and some big UFAs as well: David Clarkson, Marek Zidlicky, Alexei Ponikarovsky and Dainus Zubrus.

As per usual, Lamoriello wasn’t offering any insight as to what he plans to do with Elias.

“He is a player who is unique in this game,” Lamoriello said. “He is a player who can play in all situations at key times.”

Red Wings re-sign Mrazek to two-year, $8 million deal

Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek (34) stops a shot by Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula (51) in the first period of Game 3 in a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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The Detroit Red Wings didn’t need Petr Mrazek‘s arbitration hearing either.

The day after the Wings avoided the process by locking up defenseman Danny DeKeyser, they agreed on a two-year deal with Mrazek, with a reported cap hit of $4 million.

Mrazek, 24, went 27-16-6 last season with a .921 save percentage. Those numbers compared favorably to Jimmy Howard‘s (14-14-5, .906); however, GM Ken Holland has argued that keeping Howard could be best for Mrazek’s development.

“It could possibly be detrimental if we put Petr in a situation where we’re just going to throw him out and play 70 games and no matter how you play, we’re going to keep putting you out,” said Holland.

Granted, it may be that Howard is simply untradeable. He’s 32 years old, hasn’t put up solid numbers the past three seasons, and has three years remaining on his contract with a cap hit of just under $5.3 million.

If Howard remains, the Wings will have just under $9.3 million in cap space allocated to their goaltenders next season, one of the highest totals in the league.

Mrazek, by the way, will still be a restricted free agent when his new contract expires in the summer of 2018.

Tavares ‘would love’ to spend his entire career with Isles

John Tavares
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With new majority owners and now talk of a new arena, the future of the New York Islanders has been a popular topic lately.

Not surprisingly, it’s led to plenty of discussion about the future of captain John Tavares, who can become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2018.

Ownership has insisted that it won’t get that far, that Tavares will be re-signed. The Isles will have “no financial constraints,” owner Jon Ledecky promised.

But what about Tavares? What does he think?

“I think I’ve always showed my commitment, my appreciation and my desire to play on Long Island,” the 25-year-old told Sportsnet 590 radio on Tuesday, per NHL.com. “I would love for that to continue for the long haul. I think you look at some of the greatest players in the game have been able to spend their entire career somewhere. I hope I’m in that same position.”

As for the speculation he could sign in Toronto?

“I would not count on that,” he said.

So start the countdown to July 1, 2017. That’s when Tavares can officially start negotiating an extension with the Isles.

Perhaps by then we’ll even know where the team will be playing its future games. Will it be Brooklyn or somewhere else?

Sens re-sign Hoffman to four-year, $20.75 million deal

Mike Hoffman
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Only 18 NHLers have scored more goals than Mike Hoffman has over the last two seasons.

Today, the Ottawa Senators signed the 26-year-old sniper to a four-year contract with a reported cap hit of $5.1875 million.

Hoffman had an arbitration hearing scheduled for Aug. 4. The breakdown of his new deal, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman:

His contract done, Hoffman can now focus fully on next season, which he’s excited about.

“New coach coming in, Guy Boucher, I had him in junior when I played in Drummondville of the Quebec League,” Hoffman said recently. “Very good relationship with him, we won a championship together. So definitely looking forward to working with him this year.”

As for Sens GM Pierre Dorion, he’s still got some offseason work to do. Defenseman Cody Cedi is a restricted free agent, and there’s no arbitration date to encourage a settlement in his case. While Dorion is confident that something that will get done with the 22-year-old, what remains to be seen is if it’s a short- or long-term deal.

Hurricanes extend contract of head coach Bill Peters

Bill Peters
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The Carolina Hurricanes may have missed the playoffs in each of Bill Peters’ two seasons behind the bench, but GM Ron Francis is clearly pleased with the job his head coach has done.

Today, the ‘Canes announced that Peters has been signed to a contract extension through the 2018-19 season.

“Bill is a talented, young coach in the National Hockey League,” said Francis in a release. “We are happy that he has made a commitment to the Hurricanes, and that he will be a major part of the team continuing to grow.”

The ‘Canes still won’t be a popular pick to make the playoffs in 2016-17, but with all the young talent that the organization has amassed, Peters will certainly be expected to get them there before his contract expires. (The ‘Canes were actually a pretty solid possession team last season, but were let down by their goaltending and inability to convert scoring chances.)

Carolina last made the playoffs in 2009.

Related: ‘Canes enjoying stronger ticket sales, but ‘fence-sitters’ still need convincing