Patrik Elias is a two-time Stanley Cup champion who has reached the 70-point mark on five separate occasions and is the Devils’ all-time leader in goals (403) and assists (608). He’s also roughly a month away from his 39th birthday and time is catching up with him.
His role with the Devils is naturally diminishing as a result, but there is a limit to what he will do. With Dainius Zubrus and Stephen Gionta currently serving as his linemates, Elias made it clear where he will draw a line in the sand.
“If they want to play me on the fourth line, I’m not willing to do that,” Elias told NJ Advance Media. “I think that’s a conversation I’m going to have after this season. I know what I’m capable of.”
What would happen if he was assigned to a fourth-line role in 2015-16 even after talking with the Devils over the summer?
“I probably wouldn’t (accept) that because I don’t consider myself a fourth line player and I wouldn’t be useful for this team to play that role. Simple,” Elias said.
He also defended his lackluster numbers (10-18-28, 56 GP) by pointing out that the 2014-15 Devils aren’t a high-scoring team.
He’s finishing off the second campaign on his three-year, $16.5 million deal. He’s confident there would be teams interested in him and what remains of his contract if the Devils don’t want him anymore.
For his part, Devils GM and interim coach Lou Lamoriello defended Elias’ role.
“Right now, look at what he’s doing. He’s playing against the top line of every team every night,” Lamoriello said of Elias. “That says a lot for where he is today. Why are we worrying about tomorrow?”