When I had the original idea of looking at a player's assists, I immediately thought of one player: Patrik Elias. When I think of a "playmaker" on the New Jersey Devils, Elias is the first one to come to my mind. He's the straw that stirs the drink. He plays with his head up, his mind thinking one step ahead, and his passes are generally crisp and put where it should be most of the time. In my view, it's a big reason why his move to center has been successful (the other large one being the fact he's a really good defender), why he's usually on the side boards on power plays, and why players around him tend to play better. Just as I was about to begin, I discovered Ilya Kovalchuk had more assists across the regular season and the playoffs so I looked at his primary and secondary assists instead.

Strange as it may seem, but I enjoyed going through all 57 of his assists enough that I figured it would be just as interesting to do the same for Elias. He was no slouch when it came to getting assists. He led the Devils in assists last season with 52 and finished seventh overall in the league in 2011-12. For some reason, his production was just mired in a slump in the playoffs. Regardless of the 2012 postseason, Elias remains an important part of the team's offense even in his advancing age. Therefore, I'm not only interested in finding out how many of his 55 total assists were actual passes, but what kind of assists were they and who received them. The latter is particularly important as it may temper our expectations for the next season, regardless of length.