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.
Patrik Elias admits that his career might be winding down, yet he told the Bergen Record that he’s comfortable with the idea of being traded away from the only team he knows … or not.
The 39-year-old said he wasn’t sure what new New Jersey Devils GM Ray Shero has planned for him, yet he seems OK with either scenario.
“Honestly, if he wants to change things around and this is not a place for me anymore, it’s OK,” Elias said. “It happens. And if he wants to keep me around and still be a part of the team, then I’ll be more than happy.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean that the veteran would waive his no-trade clause for just any destination. Perhaps he wouldn’t be as easy going if Shero asked him to accept a move to a basement team in an unforgiving climate?
That’s something the two will likely need to discuss going forward, but it sounds like the Czech winger would at least be open-minded about a deal. The 2014-15 season was rough for him (34 points is a career-low, unless you count sparse appearances in 1995-96 and 1996-97), even with the token All-Star nod, so perhaps he’s more interested in going out on a high note than getting everything his way?
Lou Lamoriello announced today that he’ll be handing over the general manager’s job to Ray Shero while retaining his position as team president. Shero appreciates all that Lamoriello has done since taking over in 1987, but in light of New Jersey’s recent struggles, he also wants to do things a bit differently.
“Lou and I have discussed a lot of things as far as philosophy. I’m not Lou and I’m not like Lou. And he’s not like me. We’re different,” Shero told NJ Advance Media. “There are a lot of different philosophies that we do share, but when you look Pittsburgh and New Jersey they are certainly different teams.
“You look at the Devils and it’s about his defensive philosophy. That’s been very successful for them. But in terms of where the are now and moving forward to be successful, let’s be honest. There has to be a complement of that with a philosophy of offensive hockey and scoring more goals. If not, there is not much room for error. Without that, goaltending and team defense can only take you so far.”
Shero has a lot of experience with offensively gifted teams from his days with Pittsburgh, but then, he had plenty to work with in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. The Devils ranked 28th in goals per game last season, but it’s not as if their defense-first approach has always gone hand-in-hand with offensive anemia. New Jersey was a middle-of-the-road team offensively in 2011-12 when it last made the playoffs and went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final.
Back then the Devils had Ilya Kovalchuk, Patrik Elias, and Zach Parise leading the charge though. Parise and Kovalchuk have since left the team while Elias turned 39 in April.
Filling the void left by the departure of superstars is an extremely difficult task, but it’s the one Shero inherited. He’s already got a strong goaltending tandem in Cory Schneider and Keith Kinkaid and a promising blueline. Whether or not he is able to elevate the Devils’ offense to at least respectable levels could determine how his tenure with New Jersey will ultimately be viewed.