Unrestricted free agent Patrik Elias was hoping to play hockey this season, but chronic issues with his knee forced him to the sidelines.
On Friday morning, the 40-year-old officially announced that he was going to retire from pro hockey.
He ends his career having scored 408 goals and 617 assists in 1240 games (all with New Jersey). Elias won two Stanley Cups in 2000 and 2003 (he added 45 goals and 125 points in 162 career playoff games), he was selected as an NHL All-Star four times and he won a bronze medal with the Czech Republic at the 2006 Olympics.
Elias was certainly willing to continue playing. In December, he was still trying to figure out if he was going to sign a new deal with the Devils so that he could suit up for a few more games, but it sounds like the knee is what held him back.
“Time flies,” Elias said, per the Devils’ website. “Some great years, successful years, some rough years, but it all brought us here.
“If I didn’t have any health issues, if the knee didn’t bother me as much, I’m pretty sure I would be still playing because I love the game, I love being out there on the ice, I love the work, I love the grind.”
The lifelong Devil scored at least 20 goals 10 times in his career. He also put together four seasons of 30-goals or more, and in 2000-01, he found the back of the net a career-high 40 times.
“I think it’s going to sink in with a little bit more time. You know, there’s been times it almost happened that I didn’t play for this organization,” Elias said about spending his entire 19-year career with one team.
“I’m so proud and so humble to be able to play for one team, one organization. As you said, it doesn’t happen that often. A lot of things have to come into play and I was lucky enough to have their support.”
The Devils announced that Elias will take part in the pre-game warmup on Apr. 8 against the Islanders as part of a #Pattyslastlap promotion.
You can watch Ken Daneyko’s full interview with Elias by clicking here.