TORONTO – Chris Chelios could find his way back to the NHL this season.
Phoenix Coyotes GM Don Maloney is badly in need of a defenceman and plans to travel to San Antonio to scout the 47-year-old defenceman in person on Friday night. Chelios is currently playing with the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and has caught the attention of a couple teams.
“He’s there, he’s savvy and he’s in great shape,” Maloney said Tuesday at the NHL’s GM meetings. “(But) I don’t know – the pace of the NHL game is so quick.”
The Coyotes haven’t had any contract talks yet with Chelios.
“We haven’t spoken,” said Maloney. “He’s just another name, a right-handed shooting defenceman, (so we’re) saying, ‘OK, let’s talk about it.’ A week ago we were in pretty good shape health-wise, a week later you have two of your top six down.”
Maloney has been forced to explore all available options with Ed Jovanovski and Zbynek Michalek both out of the lineup with injuries. He realizes that it’s important to find the right fit for a team that is off to a fairly strong start.
Besides Chelios, another free agent that seems to be garnering some attention from NHL GMs is Peter Forsberg.
The Swede is attempting yet another comeback and played three games for his country at the recent Karjala Cup. Forsberg’s agent Don Baizley was milling around outside the meeting area on Tuesday and chatted with a few GMs.
Vancouver, Boston, Philadelphia and the New York Rangers have all publicly confirmed their interest.
“I’ve made it known before – a healthy Peter Forsberg, who wouldn’t be interested?” said Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. “I don’t know that he’s healthy. I know he played (with) those guys over there, we had a couple guys there watching.”
You can also expect some trade talk to heat up while the GMs and their assistants gather over two days in Toronto.