ESPN has been busy building up their hockey roster as they prepare for their return to the NHL next season.

That includes Mark Messier as a studio analyst, and according to a report from Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, they’ve added another name that will be familiar to fans of the league in the 90s and 00s: Chris Chelios, who starred for the Canadiens, Blackhawks, and Red Wings as part of a lengthy career in the league.

Via Marchand:

Chris Chelios will join Mark Messier as part of ESPN’s top studio team, according to sources. ABC/ESPN and TNT will take over the national coverage of the NHL next season. ABC/ESPN will have four of the next seven Stanley Cup Finals.

ESPN and TNT have been like franchises signing free agents. After TNT landed Wayne Gretzky, ESPN countered with Messier — and now Chelios.

Chelios, 59, won the Cup three times — twice with the Red Wings and once with the Canadiens. 

TNT’s addition of Gretzky is certainly the biggest name brought into the fold so far, but ESPN pairing Chelios and Messier for studio work is certainly impressive as well, if we’re going by name recognition alone. Plus, as Marchand noted too, Chelios has worked for ESPN before, during the network’s coverage of the World Cup of Hockey. (A fun sidenote: Chelios was the 2007 recipient of the Mark Messier Leadership Award.)

Building up this kind of studio presentation in just one offseason isn’t easy for any network, especially considering Turner is attempting to do the same thing at the same time, drawing from a similar pool of candidates. ESPN still has plenty of pull, though, and it’s possible they’re not done yet, too.

[New York Post]

About Jay Rigdon

Jay is a writer and editor for The Comeback, and a contributor at Awful Announcing. He is not a strong swimmer.