Elias isn’t sure if he’ll play in opener

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Patrik Elias will not play in any preseason games, but he doesn’t want to dismiss the possibility that he’ll be ready for the New Jersey Devils’ season opener on Oct. 9.

“I really don’t know. I wish I could tell you more,” Elias told NJ Advance Media. “It won’t be long. I’ll be back soon. I’m just having a little lower body issue. It’s not a big thing.”

The Devils and Elias are erring on the side of caution though to give his lower-body ailment a chance to heal. He has played in fewer than 70 contests in each of his last two campaigns and is now 39 years old, so issues like this could unfortunately be a recurring topic for him this season.

Elias is in the final season of his three-year, $16.5 million contract and it’s not clear what his plans are beyond that. It doesn’t sound like his goal is to extend his career for as long as possible though as he made it clear last season that he wouldn’t be interested in a fourth-line role if it came to that.

In the short-term, that’s likely not an issue. He might not be the offensive force he once was, but the hope is that he can be a key player for the Devils this season.