After serving as the New Jersey Devils captain in the past, veteran forward Patrik Elias isn’t interested the club’s captaincy.
New Jersey is looking for a new captain after Bryce Salvador announced his retirement earlier this month.
“I’ve been in that position before,” Elias told Tom Gulitti of The Bergen Record. “I think it’s a privilege, no question about it. I would consider it. I’m truly hoping it’s not my last year, but I think there are different guys that would be more suited for that.”
The 39-year-old, who is heading into the final year of his three-year, $16.5 million contract, isn’t completely over being stripped of the ‘C’ on the first day of Devils’ training camp in 2007 under then head coach Brent Sutter.
“It’s just the way it went,” Elias said. “I don’t think it was handled the proper way, not just from Brent Sutter. Not just from him. So, I didn’t want it after that. Maybe in a way, maybe when I had that C, you try to do too much maybe a little bit just because it’s not an easy role. You might not even recognize it, but subconsciously you might worry about things that maybe you shouldn’t. They put you in that role for a reason, because they like what they’ve seen, and you’ve got to keep doing the same things.”
After playing over 1,200 games, all with the Devils, Elias isn’t approaching training camp as if it’s his last in New Jersey.
“I hope not,” he said. “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.”
Really, it makes sense that the New Jersey Devils would prefer not to just throw the captain’s “C” on someone’s jersey right away.
It’s a time of transition for the franchise, with Lou Lamoriello making way for Ray Shero after decades of running the ship, along with John Hynes getting his first NHL head coaching gig.
Shero made it clear that there’s no rush to a captaincy decision, although he left the door open for it to happen as well, as the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
“If we didn’t have a captain to start the season, it wouldn’t mean we don’t have a leader,” Shero said. “Not at all. There are a number of teams with no captains. I don’t know if Columbus had one last season and, of course, Minnesota had rotating captains with Jacques (Lemaire). I don’t want to make a big deal out of it.”
As Shero notes, “we don’t know these players yet.”
Michael Cammalleri spoke of a possibly refreshing change of pace a couple days ago, also to the Newark Star-Ledger.
“The ownership group seems highly intelligent and highly sophisticated in their strategy. For now, let’s put some trust in that,” Cammalleri said. “Let’s (hope) they have a plan that will work.”
Where would you go with the captaincy role, if you had to make a choice today? Would it be a fading veteran like Patrik Elias, maybe someone like Cammalleri or even an up-and-comer such as Adam Larsson?
Looking at New Jersey’s options, it really does make a lot of sense just to wait.
The New Jersey Devils have announced they will not renew the contract of David Conte – the club’s director of scouting.
Conte had been with the Devils organization for 31 seasons.
“David and I have had numerous discussions regarding his future. Based on our conversations, I believe it is in the best interests of our organization for David to pursue other opportunities and to not renew his contract,” said Devils’ GM Ray Shero in a statement. “I would personally like to thank David Conte for his 31 years of service to the New Jersey Devils organization. His contributions to the success of the hockey operations department have been immense. The search for his successor will begin immediately.”
The 66-year-old served as the club’s director of scouting for 22 seasons. Conte was promoted to executive vice president in September 2006. He also spent eight years as New Jersey’s assistant director of scouting. Conte originally joined the team as a full-time scout during the 1984-85 season.
His former draft picks include Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer and Patrik Elias.