Thrashers Sign Chris Chelios

Sportsnet is reporting that the Atlanta Thrashers have signed defenseman Chris Chelios to an NHL contract. Chelios has been playing with the Thrashers AHL affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, accumulating 5 goals and 16 assists in 44 games. No details of the signing have been made available at this time.

Chelios is considered one of the greatest defensemen of the last 20 years, having three Norris-winning seasons with the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks, not to mention 3 Stanley Cups with the Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings. The 47-year-old has 185 goals and 763 assists for 945 points in a whopping 1,645 games in the NHL. He is 4th in most games played behind only Ron Francis, Mark Messier and Gordie Howe, and 133 games behind the lead.

Chelios's age has slowed him down considerably over the last few years. At the end of last season, the Detroit Red Wings decided to cut him loose, in the process reducing their average age by a good five or six years.

The news of the signing comes on the heels of another depth move by the Thrashers, who traded AHL defenseman Nathan Oystrick and a conditional pick in 2011 for 6'5'', 254lbs forward Evgeny Artyukhin, who has 4 goals and 5 assists in 37 games with the Anaheim Ducks this year.

Details of the signing to follow.

Update: RDS is reporting that Chelios will be put on waivers, per standard procedure in the NHL. If he isn't picked up, he'll remain with Chicago.