Long time New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias will be representing the Czech Republic at the Olympics for the fourth time later this month in Sochi, Russia.
Elias has been skating for “Jersey’s team” consistently since the 1997-98 season (he did participate in 18 NHL games before that, too) and has been compiling an incredible resume ever since. Elias is a three time Stanley Cup champion and the team’s all time leader in games (1,131), goals (386), assists (577) and points (963). Perhaps it’s because of the team that he plays for, one that is perpetually below the radar despite their tremendous success over the past 20 years, that Elias does not get recognized amongst the great players in the NHL, despite his amazing, and consistent, production. He has slowed a bit now that he is at the tail-end of his career, but he had a stretch from the 1997-98 campaign through the 2011-12 season in which he scored 15 goals every season and scored more than 25 goals six times. A truly remarkable feat considering the defensive style of play that the Devils have always employed. Elias has an incredible +187 rating for his career and has only registered a minus rating for a full season twice since 1997.
Although he is not viewed as a legendary player there is little doubt in my mind that when Elias finally hangs up his skates it wont be long before he is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. His numbers are simply too good to be ignored and the fact he has done it all for a single franchise is truly remarkable.
Elias is a well-balanced player who will be appearing for a deep and talented Czech team that is full of NHL players. He will likely play top six minutes for the Czech’s; a similar role to the one that he performs for the Devils. Elias will be asked to pitch in offensive production while holding his own in all three zones, something he has been doing very well for the better part of two decades. In his previous Olympic experiences Elias has notched three goals and three assists in ten games.