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‘Extended Wings family news’: Jake Chelios signs an AHL deal

These players aren't Red Wings property, but they're part of the larger Wings family, so they merit mentioning.

Dean and Jake Chelios's statuses as having a famous father have not equalled an easier road toward professional hockey careers. Neither player was a hair over 6 feet or a puck heavier than 170 pounds (they inherited their dad's wiry physique) during their draft years, so the pair plied their trade at Michigan State University for four seasons, taking part in Wings and Blackhawks development camps.

This past season, once Michigan State's NCAA season ended, the pair joined the ECHL's Toledo Walleye. Dean, who's now a 6'2," 185-pound forward, didn't post a point over the course of 8 games played, but the Walleye deemed him important enough to place on their "protected list" to ensure that Dean won't be poached away this summer.

Jake fared better, parlaying his 7-game ECHL stint, which produced a goal and an assist, into a try-out agreement with the AHL's Chicago Wolves.

Today (via Hockeyfights), the Wolves announced that they'd liked Jake's 4-game try-out (1 assist during said stint) to sign the 6'2," 200-pound swing-man to a full-year AHL contract:

The Chicago Wolves announced Monday that they have signed defenseman Jake Chelios to a standard player contract (SPC).

CHELIOS, the younger son of Hockey Hall of Fame defenseman Chris Chelios, returns to the Wolves after spending the final six weeks of the 2013-14 season with the franchise. The 23-year-old signed on April 4 and posted one assist in four regular-season games. He became part of the first father-son tandem to play for the Wolves when he made his debut on April 11.

The Bloomfield, Michigan, native launched his professional career on March 22 with the Toledo Walleye (ECHL). He contributed one goal and one assist in seven games with Toledo. Prior to turning pro, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound CHELIOS played for four years at Michigan State University and posted 17 goals, 37 assists and 195 penalty minutes in 154 games. At the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, he earned the team’s Dr. John Downs Most Outstanding Defensive Player award. He also spent the 2009-10 season with the Chicago Steel (USHL) and provided 12 goals and 22 assists in 52 games.

In accordance with team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Wolves are the St. Louis Blues' AHL affiliate, but Chelios is likely playing to try to earn a contract with any team that might be interested in his services, and by "swing-man," I mean that Jake plays equally well on defense and as a forward.

I don't know how the gents conducted themselves while at school, but my interactions with them were always positive. They were accommodating, witty, self-effacing and aware of the fact that the name on the backs of their jerseys was going to yield incessant comparisons to their father, but understanding of the fact that it gave them no quarter. I never treated them like anybody but "Dean" and "Jake," and I tried very hard to avoid questions that involved their lineage, and they seemed to apreciate that.

I don't know how far they can take their skills--Dean is a playmaking, slick center, but he's slightly-built; Jake is bigger and meaner, and he really glides on his skates...

But they may end up spending their 20's plying their trades in the minor leagues, "maxing out" as ECHL or AHL players, if not heading to Europe to chase bigger paychecks.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with that, and there's no shame in the concept that not every top prospect makes the NHL.

For now, the Chelios brothers are chasing their dreams, and who knows where their journeys will take them?

What I do know is that I'll be rooting for them, regardless of where they end up.

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Primis's avatar

Good for Jake.  He probably maxes out as an AHLers, and Dean as an ECHLer.  But like you said, no shame in that.  And it was great that Dean got a medical redshirt so he and Jake could both burn that 4th year of eligibility together in East Lansing.

Posted by Primis on 06/09/14 at 10:40 PM ET


Contrary to what you say, I would say that Dean and Jake’s careers to professional hockey have equaled an easier road to the pros. I was passed over many times for someone who was the grandson of a Red Wing with his jersey retired even though(at one point) we were of equal talent. He went on to play in the NHL. I saw Fedorov’s brother get many opportunities that better players didn’t receive because of the name on the back of the jersey. Name’s open doors, but, talent keeps you playing. just saying…

Posted by tbuhg on 06/09/14 at 11:02 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

It definitely happens all the dang time. I don’t believe that these two have gotten any help in this department. If anything, they were afforded an easier route to the Toledo Walleye via their ties to the Wings, but what they do from here is up to them.

Fedor was a jerk and he did a fantastic job of blowing all the chances his name gave him.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/09/14 at 11:08 PM ET


Too bad the Wings missed out on this.  He could’ve been that top-four defenseman they’re looking for.

Posted by Garth on 06/10/14 at 10:16 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.