Devils Light Some Fireworks on the Fourth

The New Jersey Devils lit some fireworks of their own on the 4th of July by taking care of a number of in-house free agents.

According to ESPN, center Patrik Elias is going to become a lifetime New Jersey Devil after agreeing on a three-year deal worth $16.5 million.

With that kind of money, he may just do some college football betting.

The 37 year-old is the Devil’s all time franchise leader in goals (375) and assists (555). He is also third in games played with 1090 over his 17 year career.

“To [general manager] Lou [Lamoriello], all my teammates and Devils fans, I’m excited to sign a new contract and be back with New Jersey,” Elias said in a statement released through his agent. “This year marks my 17th year with the Devils, and it’s very special to be a member of one organization for my entire career. We’ve shared some great moments together, and I look forward to working with everyone to create new ones. Go Devils!”

Elias has won two Stanley cups with the Devils after being drafted in the second round of the 1995 draft. He said at the end of last season, which he scored 14 goals with 22 assists in 48 games, that he wanted to come back to Newark.

Also returning to the Rock is veteran forward Dairnius Zubras, who inked a three-year,  $9.3 million contract. A person familiar with the deal revealed the terms to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the Devils didn’t release those numbers.

Zubrus is a 16-year NHL veteran, who has spent the past six seasons with New Jersey.

Of course, the Devils may still lose a number of unrestricted free agents. David Clarkson will test the market when it opens on Friday, while forwards, Steve Sullivan, Alexei Ponikarovsky and defenseman Marek Zidlicky are also eligible to become unrestricted free agents.

Also not returning to Newark will be goalie Johan Hedberg, who was bought out of the final season of his contact, which was set to count as $1.4 million against the salary cap, according to the Newark Star Ledger.

The 40 year-old was expendable after the Devils acquired Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks on draft day. Hedberg spent the last three seasons backing up Marty Brodeur.