"Chris has been tremendous for us in Chicago in this year, especially with our young players," Thrashers general manager Don Waddell told ESPN.com. "As we enter this March drive towards the playoffs, you can never have enough depth at defenseman, especially with the experience Cheli brings to the table.
"Our plan is that if he clears waivers, we'll leave him in Chicago. If we run into injuries or if we need a change, he's available to us."
ESPN.com's Pierre LeBrun reports Chelios, 48, signed a two-way NHL contract that pays him $700,000 in salary in the NHL and $105,000 in the AHL.
Chelios played with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League this season, appearing in 44 games with 21 points (five goals, 16 assists) and ranking second in the league with a plus-35 rating.
"Who knows, a couple of injuries there -- they're kind of close of getting in the playoff race -- [I might] get lucky and get in a few games," Chelios said. "It's been a good year [with the Wolves], and if this is where it ends, it's been a good time."
A 25-year NHL veteran, Chelios ranks 10th all time in scoring for defensemen. The Chicago native is a three-time Norris Trophy winner and a four-time Olympian. He also played on three Stanley Cup champions.