In a release issued Tuesday night, New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero announced that star forward Patrik Elias has has undergone “an arthroscopic procedure” on his right knee.
“The surgery was successful and he will be out indefinitely,” said Shero. “There is no current timetable for his return, but we are optimistic that Patrik will return this season.”
It’s yet another injury keeping the Devils from fielding anywhere near a healthy lineup. They’ve had a rough go with injuries this season, but managed to perform above expectations nonetheless.
Injuries have kept the 39-year-old Devils legend from playing in all but 13 games this season, over which he’s scored one goal and five points. He’s in the final year of a three-year, $5.5 million contract.
Despite speculation the team hasn’t talked at all about any implications for Elias’s career, as he’s up there in years and has an expiring contract. He has spent his entire NHL career within the Devils organization after being drafted by the team in the 2nd round (51st overall) of the 1994 draft.
Elias has played 1,237 games in a Devils sweater, the third most in franchise history, just behind Martin Brodeur’s 1,259 and Ken Daneyko’s 1,283. He’s also the franchise’s all-time leader in goals (407), assists (615) and points (1,022). He’s got a huge lead over the player who is second all-time in each category with John MacLean’s 347 goals, Scott Niedermayer’s 364 assists and MacLean’s 701 points all coming in second to Elias’s impressive totals. There isn’t an active player that ranks in the top 10 in any of the above categories.
The Devils are tied with the Boston Bruins at 47 points and the Bruins currently hold the final wild card spot for the Eastern Conference with three games in hand on the Devils. If the Devils can manage to grab a wild card spot, they’ll feel the absence of Elias’s playoff experience if he’s not able to come back.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.