Devils' Patrik Elias sounds like he's leaning toward retirement

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NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 06: Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils waits for a faceoff in an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center on December 6, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ – DECEMBER 06: Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils waits for a faceoff in an NHL hockey game against the Florida Panthers at Prudential Center on December 6, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)

Patrik Elias continues to skate, but his hockey playing future remains up in the air following off-season knee surgery. And if you listen to him, it sounds like he’s leaning toward hanging up his skates.

The 40-year-old Elias, who’s played with the New Jersey Devils for his entire 20-year career, suited up for only 16 games last season before undergoing knee cartilage replacement surgery in May. He still has the desire to play, and the franchise is keeping an open door for a comeback, whenever that may be.

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“It’s very hard after all these years going through injuries like that, for quite a while you kind of re-think everything, what’s worth it, if you’re still capable of competing at the highest level,” he told the Devils’ pregame radio show Friday night. “I gotta make a decision soon, not [just] to be honest with myself, but at the same time for respect to the guys.”

Elias, who’s currently an unrestricted free agent will either player with the Devils or retire, said he spoke to GM Ray Shero before Christmas and told him how he felt physically and that at this point a lot of it is overcoming the mental hurdles of playing again.

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“You kind of listen to yourself and listen to your body and your mind,” said Elias, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. “If you’re mind isn’t into it anymore 100 percent then obviously the results won’t be there. I don’t want to go on the ice and play just for the sake of playing. I still want to be capable of accomplishing something [and] help the team.”

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Sean Leahy is the associate editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!