The Atlanta Thrashers
on Wednesday called up 48-year-old defenseman Chris Chelios
Chelios has spent most of the season with the Thrashers' AHL team, the Chicago Wolves. In 46 games, he had 5 goals and 22 points, and was fourth in the league with a plus-34 rating.
"Chris has been an outstanding leader and mentor for our young players in Chicago and his level of play has made him deserving of this opportunity," said Thrashers GM Don Waddell. "He's a tremendous competitor who strengthens our group of defensemen and instantly adds a veteran presence to our locker room."
If he plays in the Thrashers' next game -- Thursday at Columbus -- it will start his 26th NHL season, which would tie Gordie Howe
's League record. He'll also pass Boston's Mark Recchi
, 42, to become the League's oldest active player. He also would become the fourth 40-year-old player in the League, joining Recchi, Phoenix's Mathieu Schneider
(40), and San Jose's Rob Blake
If Chelios and Thrashers rookie Evander Kane
play, Atlanta would have both the oldest and youngest active players in the League. Kane, 18, was born Aug. 2, 1991. By that time, Chelios had played in more than 500 NHL regular-season and playoff games, appeared in two Stanley Cup Finals, two Canada Cups, the 1984 Olympics and Rendez-Vous 87.
Chelios, a three-time Norris Trophy winner, has 185 goals, 948 points and 2,891 penalty minutes in 1,644 games with the Canadiens, Blackhawks and Red Wings. He's first all-time in games played by a defenseman, and fourth in League history, behind Howe, Mark Messier
and Ron Francis
. He's also in the top 10 among defensemen in assists (eighth) and points (10th). Among U.S.-born players, the Chicago native is first all-time in games played and ninth in points (third among defensemen).
In an NHL-record 266 Stanley Cup Playoff games, he has 31 goals and 144 points, and has won three Stanley Cups.
Last season, Chelios was scoreless in 28 regular-season games with the Red Wings and another six in the playoffs.