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Shero expects Elias to be 'big part' of Devils in 2015-16

NHL.com @NHL

New Jersey Devils general manager Ray Shero on Thursday said he expects forward Patrik Elias to be a "big part of this team" next season.

Elias said earlier in the week he did not know what his role would be and he was willing to leave the only NHL team he's ever played for, if needed.

Shero told Northjersey.com he will talk to Elias in person soon. The two have spoken only by phone since Shero was hired to replace Lou Lamoriello on May 4.

Patrik Elias
Center - NJD
Goals: 13 | Assists: 21 | Pts: 34
Shots: 114 | +/-: -20
"I think [Patrik's] going to be a big part of this team next year, and we'll see where that's going to take us," Shero told Northjersey.com. "When I sit down and talk to him, I'll find out further his thoughts and things like that. But we did have a really nice talk on the phone and he is an interesting guy to talk to.

"I'll find out more about him and where he's at and what he thinks about next year and all those things. So I'm looking forward to sitting down and talking with him."

Elias told the website Monday he wasn't sure where he stands with Shero.

"Honestly, if he wants to change things around and this is not a place for me anymore, it's OK. It happens," Elias told writer Tom Gulitti. "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, which reportedly includes a full no-trade clause. He had 13 goals and 34 points in 69 games this season but said he believes he can be an effective player given the opportunity.

Forward Travis Zajac told NJ.com he also has wondered where he will fit in. The 30-year-old has six years remaining on an eight-year, $46 million contract extension he signed in January 2013.

Shero was not asked about Zajac in the interview Thursday. Shero did say he did not know the status of forward Ryane Clowe, who played 13 games this season before being sidelined by a concussion.

Shero also said he did not know if former Devils coach Jacques Lemaire would remain with the organization. Lemaire has been a special assignment coach for the past four seasons.

"I haven't talked with Jacques. I don't know the situation with Lou," Shero said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for him. I can't be so presumptuous to think that people because I'm here want to stay or whatever the rules are, where they are in their life, I don't know. That goes to Jacques as well, because I don't know. I look forward to catching up with him and obviously the relationship he has with Lou.

"Again, I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a player and a coach. I like talking to people and asking questions, and I think he knows a few things. But I don't know where he is in his life or anything."

Former Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who was thought to be in line for a role in the organization, on Wednesday signed a three-year contract to be assistant general manager with the St. Louis Blues.

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