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Elias Cracks 1000 Points as a Devil; How Long Until We See the Feat Again?

With his 1000th point last night, Patrik Elias joined an elite group of NHL players and became the first to reach that number in a Devils uniform. So how long will it be until we see another player do what Elias has done in New Jersey?

Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Last night against Buffalo, Patrik Elias put up three points in a win to become the first New Jersey Devils player to amass 1000 points with the team and the 82nd player in NHL history to top the mark in a career. His third period assist on a Mike Cammalleri empty netter became his 1000th point and put him at a level that no other Devil has even sniffed as a member of the organization. Milestones like this are, of course, arbitrary by their very nature but they feel significant all the same and they allow us an opportunity to look back on a player's achievements. And looking back on Patrik Elias's career as a New Jersey Devil leads me to the conclusion that is may be a very long time before we are able to celebrate a milestone like this again.

One-thousand points is a great achievement for any player, but particularly for a guy who has played in the era Patrik has. Per Hockey Reference, only 9 active players have reached the 1000 point plateau, and 3 of those players (Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson, and Ray Whitney) are either retired or effectively retired. So, Elias is one of six players currently in the NHL with 1000 or more points (which means the Devils, hilariously, employ 2 of the top 6 active scoring leaders). That fact alone should paint a picture of how much rarer being a 1000-point scorer is becoming. But how rare is it for New Jersey in particular?

Overall, 19 players have cracked the 300 point mark for the Devils, which is actually a pretty decent amount for a franchise of their age, and 9 of those have broken 400 points, which also isn't bad. The numbers hit a wall at the 500-point mark, though, as only 3 players have collected 500 points in their time in New Jersey. It's no secret that the Garden State hasn't exactly been a bastion of high-powered offense in the NHL, so if the organizational philosophy stays similar, it will continue to be just a little more difficult to pile up points in New Jersey than it is elsewhere.

Looking at that list of Devils scoring leaders gives you a unique appreciation for what Patrik Elias has meant to this organization for close to two decades. The Devils' second leading career scorer, John MacLean, is well in the rear-view mirror of Elias, with 299 less points overall. This is before considering that he, and number 3 on the list, Kirk Muller, had the benefit of playing a lot of hockey in the free-wheeling 1980s/early 1990s era of the NHL. Elias started his career in the midst of the Dead Puck Era, and has played the last several seasons in a similarly low-scoring environment. If you move Muller and MacLean to his era, there's a decent chance one or both fall short of even 500 points in a Devils uniform.

So again, who could repeat Patrik's 1000 point feat in a Devils uniform? The answer almost certainly does not lie within the organization at this time. The two active Devils points leaders after Elias are Scott Gomez at 461 and Travis Zajac at 336 and I'm reasonably sure we won't have to worry about them busting into the quadruple-digits, at least in the particular universe we inhabit. On the younger end, there's Adam Henrique, who may end up with two- or three-hundred goals, but will probably be lucky to see the other side of 500 points. And in terms of their prospects, well, never say never, but yeah, pretty much not happening. Zach Parise probably had the best chance of catching Elias before he left, and even he has a long way to go to actually makes it to 1000 in his career. Kovalchuk might have had the slimmest of chances to make it there too before he split, but everything would have had to fall right for him. Unless the Devils happen to win the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes this summer, it could be quite a while before someone who even has a plausible shot of joining Patrik above 1000 comes along. Heck, who knows if the next 1000-point Devil has even been born yet (to wit: the Leafs have existed for a gazillion years and still don't have one).

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that we should cherish the kind of impact that Patrik Elias has had on this franchise. The talent, consistency, and longevity that he brought to the Devils is something we may not see again for quite a while. In addition to being a 1000-point scorer, he has also been a strong two-way player, a penalty-killer, and a guy who plays multiple positions effectively. Perhaps he isn't the same player he once was anymore, but we should consider ourselves lucky we've been able to watch him do his thing for so long and that we still get to see a player of his caliber who is a lifetime Devil on a nightly basis. When he does eventually retire, there will be debates in the greater hochey public over whether he is Hall of Fame-worthy, but there is absolutely no doubt that he should be the last Devil to wear the number 26. So here's to Patrik, here's to his 1000th point, and here's to hoping we get to see another Devil repeat his feat in our lifetimes.