The New Jersey Devils have no internal deadline to sign free agent forward Patrik Elias, general manager Ray Shero told NorthJersey.com on Tuesday.
Elias, 40, was limited to 16 games last season because of an injury to his right knee. He had surgery May 11 and was expected to need 4-6 months to recover. He spent most of the summer at home in the Czech Republic but has been skating at Prudential Center.
"We want to make sure we're on the same page on things, which is, he'll continue to skate on his own and we'll kind of see where he is," Shero said. "There's no decision on our end or his end. There's certainly none to make at this point because he, at this point, doesn't know when he [can] start to push. When he does that, how's it going to react? And we'll see exactly where we are as a team at that point anyway. So we're going to keep an open mind both ways, but it's great having Patrik around and I'm happy he's back."
Shero said Elias has to see how the knee reacts to and recovers from skating before any contract discussions can start. There also has to be a fit on the roster. The Devils this offseason added forwards Taylor Hall and Beau Bennett in trades and signed free agent forward Vernon Fiddler.
Video: TOR@NJD: Elias nets Devils' last goal of the season
"The worst thing with a sore knee is to push something," Shero said. "[Patrik] knows his body pretty well. He's in fantastic shape. He looks great. We're talking about his knee here, so whenever he gets to that point where he can push a little bit more and kind of see how it reacts, I think that's where he's got to get to and whether that's at some point later on [maybe] he can rejoin us for practice and see how he does and see how the knee reacts. We haven't really gotten to that point, either, because let's just see how things go for him.
"There's no deadline whatsoever. We'll just keep in communication with him and see how he's feeling."
Elias has played his entire 20-season NHL career with the Devils and is their leader in goals (408), assists (617) and points (1,025). His 1,240 games played are third, behind Ken Daneyko (1,283) and Martin Brodeur (1,259). Elias won the Stanley Cup in 2000 and 2003.