December 6, 1995. I was just two months old when Patrik Elias received his first opportunity to play with the New Jersey Devils, the team that drafted him 51st overall in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the next night. Little did then 19-year-old Elias know this would be the first of 1240 games played for the same team, and start of a legendary career in the NHL- one arguably worthy of a retired number with the franchise and a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
December 12, 1996. It was Elias’ 6th NHL game. The Devils won 7-4 against the Boston Bruins. One of those seven goals was the first of an eventual 408 for Elias. He would only tally two goals that season and two more in the postseason. He would not score fewer than 13 goals in a regular season until his final one in 2015-16.
June 10, 2000. Patrik Elias helped lead the Devils to their second Stanley Cup Championship, his first cup victory. He assisted on Arnott’s cup-clinching double-OT goal in Game six against the Dallas Stars.
2000-01 Season. Patrik Elias finished the season with 40 goals and 56 assists, making for a grand total of 96 points. Elias currently holds the team record for most points in a season.
April 9, 2013. I get to meet Patrik Elias at a signing in Warren, NJ at Sports Minded Unlimited.
January 6, 2015. Elias earned his 1,000th point with a secondary assist on Michael Cammalleri’s empty net goal. The Devils beat the Buffalo Sabres that night 4-1.
February 6, 2015. Elias scores his 400th NHL goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 1:23 of the second period. He is the first New Jersey Devil to hit 400 goals. The Devils would win that game 4-1.
April 9, 2016. Patrik Elias scores his 408th goal, his final of his career, with 15 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Devils defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-1, it what would be his final game in the NHL. He also had two assists that night, giving him a grand total of 617 career assists. I was at that game and the only thing you could hear throughout the Prudential Center that night was the chant of “Thank You Patty” coming from every Devils fan in the building. Game one and Game 1,240 were both played against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Patrik Elias is set to take one final skate in #PattysLastLap on April 8, 2017 at the Prudential Center. Elias will lead the team out for warmups that night and then skate his last lap alone. In an interview with Steve Politi of NJ Advance Media, Elias had this to say about his retirement as a Devil: “Playing for this one organization, this one team, this one logo, … That’s the most important thing for me, honestly. I’m not saying it’s always been nice and rosy, but it’s been a great journey. And the ups and downs make that journey worth it.”
The admins and staff at Devils Army Blog would like to wish Elias a happy retirement and thank you for your time as a New Jersey Devil. We look forward to seeing your number 26 up in the rafters next to Brodeur, Niedermayer, Daneyko, and Stevens at some point next season.