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Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Thrashers sign Chelios for the experience factor

By Pierre LeBrun

TORONTO -- I am stuck here at home after my flight to Connecticut got cancelled today. Thank you, Air Canada.

My ESPN.com colleagues Scott Burnside and Joy Russo are also here in Toronto. Trade deadline Toronto 2010 it is!

You can check out our trade deadline blog from today, but I also wanted to talk about a noteworthy signing from early Tuesday afternoon, as future Hall of Famer Chris Chelios signed with the Atlanta Thrashers for the remainder of the season. The 48-year-old was playing under an independent minor-league deal for Atlanta's AHL farm team in Chicago. And that's exactly where he'll stay if he clears NHL waivers Wednesday at noon ET. The Thrashers signed him for depth.

"Chris has been tremendous for us in Chicago in this year, especially with our young players," Thrashers GM Don Waddell told ESPN.com Tuesday. "As we enter this March drive toward to the playoffs, you can never have enough depth at defenseman, especially with the experience Chelly brings to the table. Our plan is that if he clears waivers, we'll leave him in Chicago. If we run into injuries or if we need a change, he's available to us."

Chelios signed a two-way deal paying him a $700,000 salary in the NHL and $105,000 in the minors. The Thrashers needed to sign him by noon ET on Tuesday in order to put him on 24-hour waivers and have him be eligible for their roster before Wednesday's trade deadline roster cutoff.