GM Ken Holland spoke with Chris Chelios today, telling the 47-year-old defenseman that the Wings will not offer him a contract for the 2009-10 season.
"He's been a tremendous Red Wing; we've done a lot of winning with him in a Red Wings uniform,'' Holland said. "He wants to play again. I really think he can help somebody, playing 10-15 minutes,playing in the 5-6 (defense spot), killing penalties, as a mentor and a role model to younger player. That was a part of his legacy in Detroit.''
Holland had this to say to Ted Kulfan of The Detroit News:
"Just a perfect role model for young players," Holland said. "His dedication to the game is extraordinary."
Over his ten-year career in Detroit, Chelios has been a great asset for the team in mentoring young and upcoming defensemen in the 5-6 pairing and chipping in on the penalty kill. As time in Detroit passed Cheli saw his playing minutes dwindle, playing only 28 games this regular season.
Bill at Abel to Yzerman believes that Cheli will head back to Chicago to finish out his career and I wouldn't be surprised to see that happen. While I felt that it was time for Chelios' tenure with the Wings to finally end, I wish him the best of luck and hope he finds another team to play for so he can end his career on his own note.
In honor of Chris Chelios, here is a fun YouTube clip to remember him by: