New Jersey Devils' Patrick Elias Deserves No. 26 Retired

Nick LCorrespondent IFebruary 22, 2011

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 16: Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his game winning goal at 1:59 of the third period against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Prudential Center on February 16, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The New Jersey Devils have always been known for their defensemen and goaltender. Defensemen such as Scott Stevens, Ken Daneyko, Scott Niedermayer, Brian Rafalski, Bruce Driver and Viacheslav Fetisov have graced the ice in Devils jerseys. Martin Brodeur has been arguably the best goaltender of all time and consistently been a top-three goaltender throughout his career.

So when you talk about a dominant forward or the best offensive player that came across the Devils organization, you can't help but mention Patrick Elias.

New Jersey selected No. 26 with the 51st overall pick in the 1994 NHL Draft and has been a longtime faithful Devil.

Elias is the franchise's all-time leading scorer and the record holder for points in a season with 96, as well as most career game winning goals (74) in a Devils uniform. Elias is also tied with Sergei Fedorov, Mats Sundin and Jaromir Jagr for most overtime goals scored in the NHL at 15. 

This passed weekend, Elias clinched his 800th career point against the Carolina Hurricanes in a game where he had three assists.

The Devils 34-year-old captain has 328 goals and 472 assists throughout his career with the current residents of the newly constructed Prudential Center. 

As you walk into The Rock and take a gander into the rafters, Daneyko's number three and Stevens' number four grace the fans' sight.

The two defensive legends were not only tops for the Devils, but the National Hockey League.

With Brodeur and Niedermayer next in line for number retirement, is it too early to mention Elias?

Elias holds records in hat tricks, playoff goals, career points and game-winning goals for the New Jersey Devils.

The Czech player played a key role in the 2003 Stanley Cup, and gave Jason Arnott the assist and set up to the game winning goal in the 2000 Stanley Cup against the Dallas Stars.

"He's an intelligent player." Jacques LeMaire stated.

"He's playing his best hockey. His mind is really good right now." 

Receiving nothing but praise and utmost respect from his colleagues, Elias is a shoe-in for having his name hung in the rafters with other all time greats.

But he isn't done yet.

The 34-year-old has stated his goal is to reach 1,000 points, and he doesn't plan on leaving the Devils anytime soon.

A legend on the ice, a role model off it and a deserving recipient of the high honor of his club: Hanging up No. 26, never to be worn again.