The New Jersey Devils are opening camp minus Patrik Elias, one of their most veteran presences.
“Patrik has been having an issue with his right knee over the last week,” Devils GM Ray Shero said in a statement on Friday. “We both feel that it is best to monitor this. He will continue to work off ice with our training staff, and skate on his own prior to joining the team for formal, on-ice, workouts.”
Elias, 39, has been in the news recently. With the Devils being just one of two teams currently without a captain, Elias was asked if he’d consider taking the “C,” which he wore during the 2006-07 campaign.
The veteran forward was non-committal about it, saying he’d accept the honor but also suggesting there are other players in New Jersey better equipped to take it on.
One wonders if Elias’ health could be playing a factor in the captaincy decision. After being a virtual ironman from 2010-13 — missing just two games — Elias has combined to miss 30 over the last two seasons, and will turn 40 in April.
He’s also heading into the last of a three-year, $16.5 million deal with a $5.5M average annual cap hit.