WOULD PATRIK ELIAS BE A MISTAKE?
Patrik Elias was asked today about the trade rumors of him to the Los Angeles Kings, and specifically his no movement clause – Elias responded “nodody asked me” to waive his no-movement clause concerning the rumored trade, per Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice. The report and quote came via Gulitti’s twitter.
I have heard and read the rumors. I also heard that Elias was not willing to waive his NMC so his answer today came as a recent revelation. It got me thinking. Elias to the Kings…
First, the dollars. $6 million dollars through the end of the 2012-2013 season. That is a lot of money for a 34-year-old (35 in April) left wing and sometimes center with 8 goals, 19 assists, a -13 and .079 shooting percentage in 40 games. Elias has played with New Jersey his entire career. In the past 5 seasons, his goal totals have been 16, 21, 20, 31 and 19. Pretty underwhelming for the price.
But statistics don’t tell the whole story. While I would not put Elias in the category of a “leader” (though he does wear the “A”) or “elite”, he is a solid player and teammate and thrives in a team game on both ends of the ice. His -13 this season is more a reflection of the abortion of a franchise New Jersey has become since the Ilya Kovalchuk trade than Patrik’s defensive skills. He has been a plus player his entire career.
Elias does come with recent injury concerns. He underwent a hip / groin surgery in June of 2009. It limited him to only 58 games that season. He then suffered a concussion in January of 2010 that kept him out for 3 weeks.
The skill set is very much what you have seen is what you get. An exceptional stick handler. An accurate shot. The ability to find a seam, sometimes out of nowhere. He can skate but more than that, he is an intelligent skater. He has a nose for the open areas of the ice and when the shot is not there, Elias is quite adept at finding the open man. Think Ziggy Palffy, but bigger if you need a former Kings’ analogy. Patrik Elias generally elevates his game in the second half of the season and is a consistent and proven playoff performer. From 2000 through 2009, he has 102 playoff points, the most of any other NHL player during that time period. Much of this is history however. Elias has faded. He is not the player he was three or more seasons ago though we have all seen what a change in scenery can do.
How would he look on a line with Kopitar and Brown?
…I am going to pause for a moment so Surly can wipe the drool from his face as he reads this. You see, each time this subject comes up, Surly turns into a 13-year-old boy who just felt his first boob…
He would look great. I have little doubt Elias can help the Kings, assuming he remains healthy but that is an assumption you make with any mid 30′s player in the NHL. Patrik Elias on Kopitar’s left would be the veteran, moderate to high skilled left wing that would find Kopitar open for shots on goal, give Anze the time and space to get in shooting position especially on the powerplay, get shots on net on a consistent basis that Brown would pick up and put in within or around the crease and rarely if ever hurt you defensively.
What’s the down side? Dollars. That $6 million guarantees that Handzus would not return after this season. It also poses questions on Williams, Ponikarovsky and Sturm, all of whom will be UFAs after this season. Of course, any trade for Patrik Elias would require some salary to go the other way whose cap hit, from Lamoriello’s perspective, would likely not last past this season. Care to guess who that may be?
For the record, I would be against this trade. I see him as a handicap from a salary perspective and do not put him in elite status to justify it. I am open to persuasion however. Elias on Kopitar’s wing intrigues me…now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get Surly more tissue.