The 2010-2011 Player Review: Patrik Elias
Throughout the offseason, The Devils’ Den will break down the 2010-2011 Devils season. We’ll cover the big team stories, but also offer a breakdown of individual player performances. In today’s review, we focus on Patrik Elias.
Patrik Elias entered his 15th season looking to rebound. During an injury-filled 2009-2010 season, Elias collected his lowest point total (48) since the 2005-06 season, and he only suited up for 58 games. The trade to re-acquire Jason Arnott made that goal even easier to reach. With John MacLean taking over and promising a more up-tempo style, the pieces for Elias all seemed to fall into place.
Things, as we know, didn’t go according to plan. But with everything falling apart, Elias continued to produce. He was the only Devils’ player selected to the All-Star game, the third of his career and first since the 2001-2002 season. He finished first in assists (41) and second in goals (21). He stepped up and became the de-facto team leader, answering every tough questions time and time again. After the team dealt Jamie Langenbrunner to the Dallas Stars, I argued the team should give Elias the captaincy.
Elias finished the first half of the season as the Devils’ best player. Even with Ilya Kovalchuk’s amazing second half, respect needs to go to the Devils’ center. He stepped up when his team needed him the most. It was a great bounce back year for Elias, and arguably was the team’s best player.
Elias At Even Strength
Elias continued his strong two-way play this past season. We all know he’s penciled in on the second line every season, but it’s usually a question of where. He split time on both the left-wing and center this season, transitioning back into the center position as the season wore on. That didn’t hurt his production, as his rating of plus-0.58 put him fourth on the team. Playing within the top six forwards allowed him to average 2.13 points per 60. That quality of teammates (plus-0.081) outweighed that of opponents (plus-0.049), a rarity this season.
Elias played a huge role in producing even-strength offense this season. On the ice, he helped the team produce 2.68 goals per 60 (48 total), tops among all skaters. He also helped put pucks on net, bumping the Devils shots for per 60 average to 27.9, also tops among all skaters. Off the ice, those numbers dropped. The team averaged 1.58 goals for per 60 with him off the ice, and the shots for per 60 dropped to 25.6.
As expected, Elias continued his strong defensive play. The goals against per 60 didn’t look so good, as the team allowed 2.68 goals against with him on the ice. Off the ice, that number dropped to 2.16. However, he did help limit shot opportunities. On the ice, teams averaged 20.6 shots per 60. Off the ice, that number rose to 24.2, almost a four shot increase.
The Corsi numbers show the balanced, two-way skill of Elias. On the ice, his Corsi rating of plus-14.09 led all skaters. He not only helped produce shots and scoring opportunities, but limited opponents chances. Off the ice, the Corsi tumbled to plus-0.92. That difference was the biggest drop among all skaters. If his production on both ends was ever in doubt, the Corsi helps to prove his value. It was yet another successful season at even strength for Elias.
Elias On The Powerplay
Elias carried over his strong even-strength play to the special teams. Throughout the season, Elias could be found along the side boards during a powerplay, becoming an integral piece of the team’s attack. Despite not playing along the points, he still helped dictate the offense and create scoring opportunities. He posted a plus-1.38 rating and produced 3.74 points per 60 despite being outmatched by the opponents (plus-0.685 quality of competition, minus-0.847 quality of teammates). His average powerplay time was 2.57, first among all skaters.
Elias’ offensive production put him among the best powerplay players in the lineup. On the ice, he helped New Jersey score 5.18 goals per 60. Off the ice, that number fell to 1.44. The same went for shots, as he helped create 50.1 shots for per 60 on the ice. Without him, the team fired only 40.2 shots per 60. His seven powerplay goals ranked second to Kovalchuk, and he finished one point behind the Devils left-winger in overall production with 20 points.
Once again, Corsi proves Elias’ on-ice value. On the ice, his Corsi sat at 93.27, second among all skaters. Off the ice, the rating dropped to 69.95. Elias consistently plays well on the powerplay, and this season was no different. The Devils powerplay was abysmal, but certain players stood out. We all know Elias’ playmaking ability, and he continued to display that with the man advantage.
Elias On The Penalty Kill
Elias once again served as a major cog in the Devils’ penalty kill. His time on ice average of 2.05 led all forwards, but it didn’t help his on-ice production. His rating of minus-0.47 wasn’t good, and it looks even worse when you see the quality of competition (minus-0.908) compared to the quality of teammates (plus-0.190).
Although solid defensively during even-strength play, Elias slipped a bit on the penalty kill. Teams averaged 5.42 goals against per 60, ranking him near the bottom among all skaters. Off the ice, that number slightly improved to 5.10. He did, however, help eliminate shot attempts. Teams averaged 33.2 shots against per 60 with Elias on the ice. Off the ice, that number rose to 41.5.
Despite a less-than-stellar showing, Corsi rates Elias pretty well. On the ice, he checked in with a minus-49.11 rating. That looks a lot worse than it actually is. Offensive chances are almost zero, so Elias had no chance to improve that rating by producing offense. Off the ice, that number fell to minus-75.67. Clearly, he had a positive impact on the ice. Teams lit him up on the ice, but had less opportunities to score. They were either lucky or really skilled, but we already know opponents weren’t overly skilled. He didn’t have the best showing, but he wasn’t terrible either.
What more can be said about Elias? His health was a major concern this season, but he played in 81 games. His production, never a question, led the team. As he continues to age, we all expect a decline. But he continues to defy the inevitable breakdown.
Unsurprisingly, the GVT numbers show Elias was the team’s best player. He turned in a plus-8.8 GVT, tops among all skaters. Both his offensive and defensive zone numbers were positive, and he continued to display why he’s so integral to his team’s success.
We all know Elias will produce on the ice, but I want to focus on his leadership. The Devils need a captain next season, and several options litter the lineup. They can ordain Kovalchuk the captain, a move seemingly inevitable after he signed his 15-year contract. Assuming Zach Parise re-signs, they can give him the “C” and give the youth a chance to run the team. Either would be good choices. But Elias represents the best choice. He never shied away from reporters last season, in good times or bad. He answered every single question, called out his team for playing terrible hockey, and assumed responsibility. We never saw any of this from Langenbrunner, who actually served as captain. He’s done it before, and should have yet another opportunity to lead this team.
Once again, Elias turned in a quietly productive year. He was, by all accounts, the Devils’ best player during the season.