Devils agree to contract with veteran forward Elias

Thursday, 07.04.2013 / 9:29 PM NHL.com

The New Jersey Devils have agreed to a contract with forward Patrik Elias, the team announced Thursday.

Elias, 37, had 14 goals and a team-leading 36 points in 48 games for the Devils in 2012-13. The deal reportedly is for three years and worth $5.5 million per season. Elias is coming off a seven-year, $42 million contract.

"I'm excited to sign a new contract and be back with New Jersey," Elias said in a statement released by his agent. "This year marks my 17th year with the Devils and it's very special to be a member of one organization for my entire career. We've shared some great moments together and I look forward to working with everyone to create new ones."

Elias is the franchise leader goals (375) and assists (555), and has 229 more points than anyone else in a Devils uniform. He becomes the second highest-paid player on the team for 2013-14 behind Ilya Kovalchuk ($11.3 million).

"He's been here since he was 18 years old and his contribution speaks for itself both on and off the ice as far as the way he plays," general manager Lou Lamoriello told Northjersey.com. "He's still an elite player in this League and [plays] in all situations and does anything you ask.

"Really, this will keep him a Devil and, in my opinion, he'll retire a Devil."

Elias became a regular for the Devils in 1997-98 and has won the Stanley Cup twice. He has represented his native Czech Republic in the past three Winter Olympics and the World Cup of Hockey in 2004.

The Devils also made the signing of forward Dainius Zubrus official. His deal reportedly is for three years at $3.1 million per season.

"When you talk about the orchestra, you have all kinds of instruments, and his size, strength and his character, his leadership [are important], also his play," Lamoriello said of Zubrus. "His best play has always come in the playoffs for us."

The Devils have a little more than $12 million in salary-cap space remaining according to Capgeek.com, with forward Adam Henrique as a key restricted free agent and forward David Clarkson and defenseman Marek Zidlicky as unsigned unrestricted free agents.

Pierre LeBrun of ESPN.com and TSN reported the Devils were among three teams on Danny Briere's final list to sign with after the Philadelphia Flyers used a compliance buyout on him, but the forward agreed to terms Thursday with the Montreal Canadiens.

The Devils placed goaltender Johan Hedberg on waivers Thursday with the intention of using a compliance buyout. The 40-year-old became expendable when the team acquired Cory Schneider in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks in a trade on Sunday.

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