Would Chris Chelios be a good addition to the Preds?…

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.

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This seems to be a VERY controversial argument and we’d love to hear your thoughts. Please comment below. Thank you!! – section303.com

12 Comments

  1. David Cintron

    August 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Chelios is a sissy!

  2. Paul Nicholson

    August 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    “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).”

    No, he won’t. He’ll play 25-30 games a year. He’ll be the Kevin Klein of past years. The permascratch. Difference is he’ll bring all of those advantages you list above. You couldn’t find a coach with his experience for $600k, and he’ll still be available in a pinch when one of the young guys needs a breather or gets hurt.

    I’d say (and have said before): grab him.

  3. joseph

    August 27, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I have been working through this in my head all day since I heard the interview with Trotz on XM….I am actually warming up to it. What is the real downside? Not much. The upside could be huge though.
    As much as I have rooted against Chelios over the years, it might not be a bad idea if his head and reasons to come back for one more year are in the right place.

  4. Buddy Oakes

    August 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    I have been talking up Chelios as a Pred since the day of his presser at his bar in Detroit the week after I spoke with him in Las Vegas in June. I took a lot of heat on Twitter when I first broached the subject but now that the MSM has broached the subject, it seems more palatable for most fans. His presence and 25-30 games of 10-15 minutes of ice time would be the difference in making the playoffs and staying home come April. I would rather see him as the sixth d-man or in the pressbox and Lassko, Franson, or Blum getting 25 minutes in Milwaukee than have them getting Villie Koistinen playing time in Nashville. Will Chelios come to Nashville? I would say only if every Eastern Conference team and every other Western Conference team playing in the Eastern and Central time zone turns him down.

  5. John

    August 28, 2009 at 8:43 am

    After reading your post I think the on ice results between having Chelios take up a defenseman spot on the roster or having a young gun fill that spot is probably a wash. At least with Chelios on the roster you get more experienced vet teaching the young guys and also more guys in the locker room with a winning attitude.

  6. Garrett

    August 28, 2009 at 11:14 am

    You know how they say you can’t buy experience? Yeah, well, now you can. As much as I love to hate Chelios, I think it would be a good move for our D who, despite their best efforts, all seem to make rookie mistakes (even Hammer).

  7. Duvall Love

    August 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I’d love to see a NHL legend in Nashville this season. Redwing or not, he brings experience and name cache to a franchise that needs both. Can’t wait till October 8.

  8. predsfanben

    August 28, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for the blog, It covers more in depth a lot of my initial thoughts, and with such a young D-line, it just plain makes since. Let Poile dress his 6 for opening night. Let Chelly coach them. We shouldn’t let him being a red wing sissy, stand in place of all the above mentioned experience.

  9. John Wheeler

    September 1, 2009 at 11:46 am

    Chris Chelios is an automatic Hall of Famer, he is the greatest American born player in the games history, he is a work horse, he is the ultimate teacher and mentor to young players and a wealth of knowledge. It is a no brainer, bring the man in and let him play as much as he can, teach the young lads the way of the game and bolster the Preds chances of making and sustaining in the playoff run. He is also a great guy in terms of his work within the communities he has played and a devoted family man. Solid on all fronts. A player/coach of the highest caliber, Go Preds, Go Cheli!

  10. JBirdyman

    September 2, 2009 at 10:18 am

    Get him. He would be a wealth of valuable information. Fans would quickly forget about hating him.

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