Mike recently wrote an article about if this season is going to be Patrik Elias's swan song. Then Steve mentioned that the very same lifetime Devil is going to open the season on the IR. The writing is on the wall for Patty. He will stick around to mentor the new crop of youngsters and usher in the new era of Devils thus putting the final touches on his legacy in NJ Devils history.
We all know Patty is a great player and we all know he is a great Devil. A GREAT Devil. People don't realize this, but if he plays 60 games this season, he will have played more games as a Devil than Mr. Devil -- Ken Daneyko. His impressiveness of his tenure is only heightened by the production he gave us, leading in almost every major category by a ton.
But, is he recognized on a league-wide scale? Does he deserve to be? And lastly -- the big question -- is he Hall of Fame-bound?
The biggest mark against Patty is his perception as not enough of a difference-maker or elite talent. Well, to that I have a few comments. This is a list of HOF forwards who scored fewer points per than Elias:
"But CJ, points per game is subjective to the scoring of the era. You need an era-adjusted scoring statistic to judge Patrik against his predecessors."
This works even better for Patty actually. If we use Hockey-References era-adjusted statistic Point Shares and look only at its Offensive component, the list of forwards below finished with less than Patrik Elias:
|Nels Stewart*||Denis Savard*||Howie Morenz*||Peter Stastny*||Pat LaFontaine*|
|Peter Forsberg*||Henri Richard*||Joe Mullen*||Aurele Joliat*||Yvan Cournoyer*|
|Dickie Moore*||Busher Jackson*||Milt Schmidt*||Elmer Lach*||Cy Denneny*|
|Bert Olmstead*||Bob Pulford*||Igor Larionov*||Clark Gillies*||Dick Duff*|
|Pavel Bure*||Bobby Clarke*||Michel Goulet*||Andy Bathgate*||Rod Gilbert*|
|Jacques Lemaire*||Dave Keon*||Bill Barber*||Steve Shutt*||Cam Neely*|
|Ted Kennedy*||Syd Howe*||Bill Mosienko*||Doug Bentley*||Toe Blake*|
|Bernie Geoffrion*||Darryl Sittler*||Ted Lindsay*||Max Bentley*||George Armstrong*|
|Glenn Anderson*||Lanny McDonald*||Bernie Federko*||Bill Cowley*|
It's the combination of his production and his tenure that makes him such a strong offensive candidate for the HoF. However, that is not his strongest claim to the Hall.
Patrik Elias is one of the greatest defensive forwards of all time. The Point Shares stat mentioned before also has a defensive component. Among forwards, Patrik Elias is 4th all-time in defensive point shares. He is an all-time great as a defensive forward. Now part of this comes from the fact that most forwards that contribute so much defensively are not offensively gifted enough to rack up these gaudy statistics. But if anything that should be more of a reason to include him in the Hall. In case you're curious how he holds up to other hall of famers, you can take a look at the stats below. Elias is highlighted in yellow.
And the last check in the HoF box on behalf of Patrik comes in the form of this Hockey-Reference play index output. If there is some combination of Devils winning and Patrik staying healthy that can possibly result in him seeing 24 more wins, he will climb all the way 9th all-time in wins. I know that is a stat normally attributed to a goalie, but I am of the belief that being an anchor and the sole offensive constant for an era of franchise greatness is an attribute of value when considering an individuals HoF-worthiness.
Don't think that he was just along for the ride in this era of success. He propelled the team to victory with a franchise-leading, 25th-all-time, 80 game-winning goals. That's like a full season's worth of games. And it continues into the postseason where he is in the top 50 in points all-time.
In my estimation, Patrik Elias is a Hall of Famer. I've been saying this for a while, and I may very well be a homer. But, I can't find a viewpoint from which he is not at least in the conversation. His offensive numbers hold up with plenty that have already been inducted. His supreme two-way play over the course of his long career is certainly worthy of being considered an all-time great. And he has had an inarguable knack for contributing in the clutch. I sincerely hope that the rest of the selection committee sees what I see in his case and rightfully inducts him when his time comes.