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NJDevs' Devils Retrospect: Elias - It Only Takes One Guy


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#1 devilsrule33

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 11:11 PM

With Zach Parise's unceremoniously departure now behind us, I thought I'd take a look back at another Devils star forward that hit July 1st , Patrik Elias. The one thing I noticed when looking back on Elias' free agency situation was how similar it was to that of Zach Parise's 6 years later. Once again, I'll get help from current and former NJDevs members.

"It only takes one guy to wreck the whole thing and Jay Feaster just did it."

Like Parise, Elias was set to be an RFA a year before he was eligible for unrestricted free agency. And like Parise, Elias first left everyone with some doubt about his health a year before his free agency. In March of 2005, while playing for Magnitogorsk Metallurg in the Russian league, Elias fell ill with Hepatitis A. When news first broke, it was unclear how serious this was. But in the end, his season was done as he lost around 30 pounds and spent a month in a Czech hospital.

After Scott Niedermayer had chosen to leave the Devils and sign with the Anahiem Ducks, Patrik became the centre of attention again. Elias was given a qualifying offer of 1-year and $4.18 million. He could accept it, go to arbitration, or try to bang out a long-term deal (which given the circumstances seemed like a real long shot). Elias was still not close to 100% and was expected to miss the early part of the 05-06 campaign.

Patrik Elias is worth more then the qualifying offer, if he were smart he would go to arbitration take the one year deal and try his luck as a UFA. Gives him more options.

i think that given his health issues, that might be risky. look at a guy like allison who had to sign for $1.5.
i could see lou sign him to a 3 year, $4.5M/year deal now, where he's manageable and this way, is elias doesn't return to form due to hep a, he's set financially.

Amazingly, even with Elias' uncertainty, word was that Lou and Patty were trying to bang out a long-term deal. But in the end, it was not to be, and Elias accepted the 1-year qualifying offer. The thread that followed wasn't much different than the one where Parise and the Devils could only reach a 1-year deal in the summer of 2011. For many, this seemed all too familiar to a year prior when Lou and Niedermayer were unable to reach a deal on a long-term contract, instead settling on a 1-year deal decided by an arbitrator. With Niedermayer's departure barely a few weeks old, it was understandable for any Devils fan to be worried. But many stayed positive given the circumstances that the team and player were dealing with.

Bye-bye Patty.

I'm not getting the best feeling either. I does make sense now for both sides to not do a long-term deal until Patty's health issues are squared away. The Devils won't want to be tied down to a big money long-term deal if he never really comes back from the illness, and the agent has to know he wouldn't get the full value of a healthy Elias if they were to strike a deal now. Waiting is better for both sides.
Hopefully, when they say they will re-open negotiations as soon as they are allowed, they both mean it and really want to work out a long-term deal before the end of the season. :pray:

I don't get all the negativity about Elias staying, just because he didn't sign a long-term deal right this minute that automatically means he's moving on? Like someone pointed out it's really best for both sides to wait, and Elias hasn't given any indication that he's unhappy here (and in fact said he liked that the Devils were willing to talk contract with him under his condition) so I wouldn't automatically assume the worst.

Lou is going to make sure Elias completely recovers from the illness before signing him long term. That's why he qualified him so early to give that message to Elias that he wants him apart of his team for atleast this year but Lou can't predict the future (however he IS God so ya never know) so why waste all that money before you know he can or can't fully recover from his illness?
Elias was very pleased with Lou's early qualifying offer and him and Lou have never bashed heads. I'm not worried.


I think it's a smart move. I mean, c'mon people, it's not like he's getting over the flu. Regardless of A or C, hepatitus is very serious and who knows if his ability will be affected when he comes back. It's not like it was signed out of animosity. It's a smart move because I would much rather the organization be able to cut their losses after 1 season if Elias comes back and isnt effective.

If he is able to play the way he's used to playing, they'll re-negotiate and he'll be back next season. Instead of being so pessimistic, let's have a bit of optimism.


Sounds familar, right? Well, the start of the 05-06 season was a complete clusterfvck. By the end of 2005, the Devils had lost their coach because he was physically too ill to coach them anymore, dismissed two of their three major off-season acquisitions (soon to be 3 with Mogilny), and Patrik Elias had still yet to play one shift. Again, clusterfvck, but actually not so bad in hindsight when compared to the 2010-2011 Devils.

Somehow, as the Devils season came to an end, it was believed that Patrik Elias would be weeks away from a gigantic payday and potentially a maximum cap contract. The belief stemmed partly from Patty's second-half return, where his play almost single-handidly turned the Devils season around all the way to Atlantic Division Champions. Elias finished the season with 45 points in 38 games and added 16 more in just 9 playoff games. But even more concern came from a single contract given out by Jay Feaster a little over a month before free agency was to begin. A contract that many thought would have repercussions throughout the league.

According to TSN.CA, TB gave Brad Richards a 5 year, $39MM deal that pays him $7.8/year. Of course this is ridiculous, but it just put Elias' number right at $8MM and gomez well over $5MM.

It only takes one guy to wreck the whole thing and Jay Feaster just did it.

If Feaster has a job in two years, i'll eat my hat. he has killed TB's future unless they deal St. Louis or Lecavailler.

Chara, Redden, Lidstrom, and Elias have all started their new number at $8MM as they're all better than Richards and they're all more important to their own teams (or any other).

What's worse is that it makes a guy like gomez or marc savard think he's worth $6-6.5 instead of $4.5-5.
unfortunately, feaster isn't the only dummy out there.

Feaster says F-U to the entire league with this deal. Betteman must want him dead.


The salary cap should and probably will prevent stuff like this but it'll take a few offseasons for some people to realize the mistakes they're making.


I don't think this ruins the rest of the market - here's why:

1. Brad Richards is only 26. Patrik Elias is 30. Big difference. Tampa Bay will be getting these five years in his absolute prime.

2. Brad Richards has a Conn Smythe Trophy. This raises his price by a significant portion - just ask anyone who's won one over the last 10 years. Players who win a Conn Smythe are overpaid by at least 10% generally.

Here's why it does:

Brad Richards' first year can be used in arbitration because he was not yet a UFA. Something has to be done about this - the Leafs did the same thing with Mats Sundin. Players often get this year at a higher salary so that they give up some UFA years.

One thing that Tampa did not do was let the market set a price for Richards. I think he would've gotten in the high 6s.
Remember, the salary cap still dictates market price more than comparable salaries.


That's it for part 1. Stay tuned for part 2 and maybe 3 for the answers to these important questions: Will Patrik hire an agent? Does he want to test free agency? What are his priorities? Do the members of NJDevs feel confident that he'll return? Which teams are after him? And, of course, will he end up signing with the Devils?

Please..for the love of...no spoilers!

Key threads to look back on:
Bad news: Elias has Hep. A
Brad Richards Gets 5/39 Deal

Edited by devilsrule33, 23 July 2012 - 11:29 PM.

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#2 Colin226

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 07:57 AM

Awesome job.. I still remember seeing Devils vs. Carolina in Nov/Dec 2005 and they were hideously bad.. Went again in the spring 2006 when Elias got back and they lit it up.. It looked like 2 different teams
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#3 sundstrom

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:31 AM

Haha! Thanks for the quotes from the way back machine! I love these.
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#4 Bulletproof

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:45 AM

These retrospectives are fantastic! Thanks for giving us some interesting reading in the off-season.
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#5 Triumph

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:06 AM

dr33, echoing everyone else, these are really great.
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#6 DaneykoIsGod

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:07 AM

I love this stuff! Keep it coming, dr33!
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#7 Daniel

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:11 AM

Haha! Thanks for the quotes from the way back machine! I love these.


Sunny, this is your money quote:

Chara, Redden, Lidstrom, and Elias have all started their new number at $8MM as they're all better than Richards and they're all more important to their own teams (or any other).


I can imagine it now. Wade Redden making $8 million a year playing in Hartford. And he's better than Brad Richards.

Edited by Daniel, 24 July 2012 - 09:11 AM.

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#8 insanity_gallops

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 09:21 AM

Awesome, dr.

My favorite little part in there: sundstrom's view of Gomez & Savard's inflated values. Brilliant.
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#9 Chimaira_Devil_#9

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 10:24 AM

I too love these threads, and will continue to do so, until you quote me as saying something ridiculous, then i won’t be so keen. :ph34r:

It is great to look back though and see what was going on at the time.
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#10 sundstrom

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:15 PM

Sunny, this is your money quote:



I can imagine it now. Wade Redden making $8 million a year playing in Hartford. And he's better than Brad Richards.


ok - i blew it on redden.

Awesome, dr.

My favorite little part in there: sundstrom's view of Gomez & Savard's inflated values. Brilliant.


to be fair, if savard had not gotten his brains scrambled, he'd likely be worth his contract.
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“They’re the ones that makes it happen,” Lemaire said. “It’s not us. It’s not me. It’s not the other guy. It’s not the guy before. It’s not the guy after. It’s them. And they have to take care of business.”
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#11 devilsrule33

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 01:26 PM

ok - i blew it on redden.



to be fair, if savard had not gotten his brains scrambled, he'd likely be worth his contract.


I actually think Savard got a crappy deal compared to Gomez and Richards, and he might have been the best of the three. He was worth every penny and more of his deal. After his ridiculous 05-06 season with 97 points, he only signed a 4-year $20 million with the Bruins. He backed up his 06 campaign immediately with a 74 assists and 96 points playing with no big time goal scorer. Savard put up 166 points in 156 games over the next two years before injuries derailed him.

Before his injury, he signed another crappy deal at 7 years and $28 million.

Edited by devilsrule33, 24 July 2012 - 01:26 PM.

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#12 msweet

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:29 PM

Awesome... and pinned!
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#13 Devilsfan118

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 03:37 PM

These are great reads!
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#14 mouse

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 04:22 PM

This is awesome! Wish I'd been on the board for some of these threads. Thanks, dr.
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#15 thefiestygoat

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 10:04 PM

I really enjoy these post dr33! Keep em coming!
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#16 squishyx

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:11 AM

Haha! Thanks for the quotes from the way back machine! I love these.

Did you ever have to eat your hat???
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#17 sundstrom

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 07:20 AM

Did you ever have to eat your hat???


well obviously feaster is not there now, they didn't win, and richards had to be traded. not sure if he lasted two years.
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“They’re the ones that makes it happen,” Lemaire said. “It’s not us. It’s not me. It’s not the other guy. It’s not the guy before. It’s not the guy after. It’s them. And they have to take care of business.”
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#18 devilsrule33

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 09:43 AM

well obviously feaster is not there now, they didn't win, and richards had to be traded. not sure if he lasted two years.


Just barely. He left the Lightning in July of 2008, but that was his own doing. Who knows if/when he'd be fired if the team wasn't controlled by a bunch of "cowboys".

Edited by devilsrule33, 25 July 2012 - 11:17 AM.

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#19 Triumph

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 10:58 AM

Just barely. He left the Lightning in July of 2008, but that was his own doing. Who knows if/when he'd be fired if the team wasn't controlled by a bunch "cowboys".


I think even if ownership hadn't changed, he would've been fired pretty quickly. Feaster had gotten the team a Stanley Cup, but even that 2007 team that fluked into the playoffs had absolutely no depth at all, and the problem just got worse year after year.
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#20 Prucenterrules

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Posted 25 July 2012 - 12:50 PM

the next one should be about the Kovy thread. I went back and looked through it last night and there are some awesome quotes from that and it was funny to see how stressed we all were.
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