Would Chris Chelios be a good addition to the Preds?…
- Updated: August 27, 2009
John Glennon wrote about it.
Dirk Hoag wrote about it.
Heck, even Adam Gretz wrote about it. (Don’t know who he is? We don’t either. It’s not important. We just needed a third writer to make this little theme work).
Chris Chelios, public enemy #1 on hockey nights in Nashville, is rumored to be interested in wearing a Predators sweater this season. Head Coach Barry Trotz has apparently talked to Chelios about that very thing, asking him “Are you sure you’d have the interest of playing in Nashville? You’re not exactly well-liked here.” Chelios responded with “Trust me, I’m not well-liked anywhere.”
Now we know that General Manager David Poile is overly-excited about the idea of having the Preds be the first team in NHL history to start, on opening night, all six defensemen who were originally drafted by the same team, but this Chelios thing is something to consider.
Consider this: Chelios would bring three Stanley Cup rings, three Norris Trophies, 11 All-Star Game appearances, a gold medal (1996 World Cup of Hockey) and a silver medal (2002 Olympic games) to an otherwise young blueline corps. And, let’s face it, when your most experienced blueliner has a whopping five years experience (*ah-hem* Dan Hamhuis) a little veteran leadership can go a long way.
With three rookies looking to fill out the bottom two slots at the defensive position, Chelios could be a part-time player as well as serve as a coach for guys like Teemu Laakso, Alexander Sulzer and Cody Franson who figure to fight for those slots. You’d have to think that his experience would be invaluable during practices, let alone on the ice down the stretch and during the post season.
Furthermore, only having missed the playoffs once in his entire 25 year career (1997-98), Chelios also brings that “winning attitude” to the Preds that the front office has so desperately tried to instill the past few years. (Drafting Memorial Cup winners Jonathan Blum and Ryan Ellis. Bringing in Stanley Cup Champion Jason Arnott in 2006.) Chelios, while not exactly a scoring machine, would at least be an addition of another “winner” in the locker room; not to mention a cheap addition.
The 47-year old veteran made $750,000 last year. He’s been openly looking for a team to play with this season and there haven’t been any takers thus far so, one would think, the Preds could sign him for even less than that. How valuable is a guy with all of that experience, with the willingness to teach and mentor the young guys and who can even play 25-35 games this season? Not to mention, it’d be safe to say he knows the Red Wings playbook and would obviously be willing to share that information. I’d say all that’s worth about $600,000 don’t you?
Here’s the flip side though: If you bring him in, you’re automatically taking a full-time spot away from one of the young guys (which some would argue isn’t a bad thing). Also, this is not a long term move and is very much a band-aid. Thirdly, does the team really want to bring in a guy who they know won’t play all season long? Basically, are they comfortable with paying a player and filling a roster spot specifically for his leadership presence and not his production on the ice?
Look, it’s no secret that the Predators need to turn their attention (in the free-agent market) to finding a scoring winger for the 2nd line. No one’s denying that. But the bottom line is the defensive position is a cause of concern right now as well. Shea Weber and Ryan Suter are the undisputed number 1 line, while Kevin Klein and Hamhuis make up the 2nd line. Well what about the 3rd line? You mean to tell me that the coaching staff is going to fill out the bottom two slots with two unproven rookies? There absolutely must be a veteran presence to anchor the bottom half of the blueline (unless that veteran presence goes by the name of Greg de Vries, another rumored name they’re interested in *grunt*). Chelios would be a perfect fit given everything they want to do with the young guys. He’d be a full-time presence in practices and meetings but only a part-time presence on the ice, thus allowing the rookies to ease their way into the lineup without asking too much of them too early.
So while it’s hard for me to see all the positives after yelling “Chelios is a sissy!” for so many years, if I take those mustard-colored glasses off for a few minutes, the mountain of positives is hard to ignore.
But then again, there’s always Poile’s little NHL record to consider.
This seems to be a VERY controversial argument and we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below. Thank you!! – section303.com