New Jersey Devils veteran forwards Patrik Elias and Travis Zajac said this week they are unsure of their future with the team under new general manager Ray Shero.
"I really don't know," Elias said in an interview with NorthJersey.com on Monday. "I know Mr. Shero is a very respected GM. He did a great job in Pittsburgh and in Nashville when he was part of it (as an assistant GM). So, I know, in that regard, he's very respected and I believe he's going to do a great job for this organization going forward. I guess it's up to him to kind of talk to me about it and let me know where he stands with me.
Center - NJD
Goals: 13 | Assists: 21 | Pts: 34
Shots: 114 | +/-: -20
"Honestly, if he wants to change things around and this is not a place for me anymore, it's OK. It happens. And if he wants to keep me around and still be a part of the team, then I'll be more than happy."
Elias, 39, has spent his entire 19-season career with the Devils and has one year remaining on his contract reportedly with a full no-trade clause. He had 13 goals and 34 points in 69 games this season but said he believes he can still be an effective player given the opportunity.
"I still do. I really do," Elias said. "I believe that when I play with the right players in the right situations, I can still produce. I feel good. Sometimes at this age it takes a little bit longer to (recover from injuries). But I enjoy the game and I know that I can still be creative and I still have fun and enjoy it. … I don't have to prove myself for people to know that I can play in any situation: PK, power play. I know that. I know that I can."
Elias is the Devils’ all-time leading scorer with 406 goals and 1,017 points in 1,224 games. He said he is open to staying through a rebuild as long as his role doesn't diminish. The Devils have missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs the past three seasons.
"As we've talked during season, it depends on what my position is," Elias said. "To be part of a rebuild and playing limited minutes and situations, then I'll probably be honest and say I still believe I can be an impact player and maybe some other teams can use me better."
Zajac also has wondered where he will fit in after Shero replaced Lou Lamoriello as GM on May 4. Lamoriello remained as president of hockey operations.
Center - NJD
Goals: 11 | Assists: 14 | Pts: 25
Shots: 112 | +/-: -3
Zajac, 30, has six years remaining on an eight-year, $46 million contract extension he signed in January 2013. He has 143 points in 299 games since scoring a career-high 25 goals and 67 points in 2009-10.
"To be honest, I'm not sure how I'll be affected," Zajac told NJ.com on Tuesday. "I think I'm a very coachable player. Whatever they expect from me or want me to do, I'll do whatever it takes to help this team in any way. I believe in this organization.
"I don't see the change being too much of a problem for me. But with Ray, and when we get a new head coach, we'll sit down and see what they expect from me. I have a lot to give still and I feel like I can still help this organization and this team."
The Devils could be seeking a coach to replace Adam Oates and Scott Stevens, who ended last season as co-coaches after replacing Peter DeBoer in December.
"It's obviously going to be an interesting summer. There are some good coaches out there," Zajac said. "I don't know what direction Ray has for this team, but it's going to be exciting for us nonetheless having a new voice there with Ray. We'll see what shakes out this summer."