On 8th April, prior to their final home game of the season, Elias will skate with the Devils in warmups, for his farewell, against the New York Islanders.
Elias told NHL.com:
“I’m good with it. I’m fortunate enough that ownership and the whole organization and everybody and the coaches and the guys gave me the time and the opportunity to come to the decision on my own time. That’s just so important because I cannot imagine how hard it is for some guys when their careers end overnight. That’s got to be unbelievably tough.”
Since 9th April, Elias has not played. He hoped to return for another season, but on 11th May, he had cartilage replacement surgery in his right knee, which was his second surgery in four months.
While not being under contract, Elias resumed skating in September, he then took a short Christmas break and resumed skating again in January. Although he was making progress, but he stopped in early February, as he realized he wasn’t sure whether he wanted to play or not.
“The reason was I wasn’t sure if I would be able to physically and, second of all, I probably wouldn’t be able to play to the level I wanted to.
I enjoyed being out there, I enjoyed going through practice and doing the work itself, but I kind of didn’t see myself anymore going to the morning skates and evening games and traveling and all that.
And once you don’t have it in your heart and start doubting if you do have it or not, I think that’s the time to sit back and just be honest and ask yourself if it’s worth it.”
After talking with general manager Ray Shero, Elias made his final decision.
“I started having my mind on something else, some other things I wanted to do. So it was time.
I’m done in the NHL. Let’s put it that way.
I’m not planning on playing next year somewhere else, but I’m going to still go on the ice whether it’s with friends or a junior team or something else because I like it. I like the activity and I like going out there.”