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New Jersey Devils’ Patrik Elias Retires from NHL

New Jersey Devils' Patrik Elias Retires from NHL Lisa Gansky/via Flickr

Elias spent entire 20-year career with New Jersey

NHL

A New Jersey Devils great has decided to call it a career.

Forward Patrik Elias announced his retirement from the NHL on Friday morning, ending a 20-year career, all with the Devils.

When speaking about why he chose to retire now, the 40-year-old said “it was time.”

A second round pick by New Jersey in the 1994 Entry Draft, Elias leaves a lasting mark on the franchise. He retires as the Devils’ all-time leader in almost every major offensive category during the regular season and playoffs.

He finishes his NHL career with 408 goals, 617 assists, and 1,025 points in 1,240 regular season games. The Czech Republic native also tallied 45 goals, 80 assists, and 125 points in 162 career playoff games. He finishes third in games played in franchise history, as well.

Elias was a key component of the Devils, especially during their run of dominance in the early 2000s. New Jersey would reach the Stanley Cup Final three times from 2000-2003 and won it twice (2000, 2003). They fell to the Colorado Avalanche in seven games in 2001. He was also part of the New Jersey team that reached the Cup Final in 2012.

Despite failing to win the Cup in 2001, that season would be Elias’ best statistical season during his career. He would set career-highs in goals (40), assists (56), and points (96). 2001 would also be his best playoff year as he scored nine goals, 14 assists, and 23 points, all career-highs, in 24 games.

In 2000, the Devils defeated the Dallas Stars in six games. Jason Arnott would score the Cup-clinching goal in double overtime in Game 6. Elias had the primary assist on the goal.

Elias has not played since April 9, when he had a goal and two assists in New Jersey’s season finale last year.  It marked the end to a rough year for him as he was only able to play in 16 games last season due to a problem with his right knee.

He would have cartilage replacement surgery about a month after the season finished, hoping to return this season. While he started skating at the end of the calendar year, he stopped doing so in February after realizing he wasn’t sure if he wanted to play.

Elias made his final decision after talking with Devils general manager Ray Shero following the NHL Trade Deadline on March 1.

While it’s a sad day for Devils fans, they’ll have one more chance to cheer Elias. He will skate with the team during their pre-game warm ups in New Jersey’s home finale on April 8. The team also announced that they will retire his No. 26 prior to a home game to be determined next season.

Elias will be the fourth New Jersey Devil to have his number retired, joining Ken Daneyko, Scott Stevens, Scott Niedemayer, and Martin Broduer.