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Report: Flyers sign Cleary for three years, $8.25M

Sep 10, 2013, 12:31 AM EDT

clearygetty Getty Images

Earlier this week, it seemed like Dan Cleary would need to ace a professional tryout to land an NHL gig. Now he’s another bullet point in Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren’s list of baffling personnel moves.

Potential terms

At least, he is if a report from the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James is true. According to James, the Flyers handed Cleary a stunning three-year, $8.25 million ($2.75 million per year) contract on Monday. (’s Tim Panaccio confirmed it.)

Oh yeah, that deal also includes a no-trade clause.

St. James points out that earlier on Monday, Cleary said that “there’s nothing like being a Red Wing” while adorned in a Detroit Tigers hat. Apparently being handsomely paid by the Flyers is a close second, then.

Cap concerns

Technically, the signing won’t be official until the end of this month, St. James reports. That makes sense since the Flyers are technically about $2 million above the salary cap ceiling before Cleary’s $2.75 million annual cap hit registers.

It’s worth noting that Chris Pronger‘s $4.94 million cap hit will be placed on the long-term injured reserve, so Philly might be able to squeeze right under the cut-off point even with Cleary’s meaty new deal. (Cap Geek lists 10 defensemen on their roster right now, so finding wiggle room shouldn’t be too daunting.)

Pros and cons

Even so, this decision will inspire plenty of critics. Cleary managed 15 points in 48 games last season, and at 34, his best days are likely behind him.

On the bright side, he’s not 35 yet, so this contract is at least marginally easier to get rid of if need be. The winger’s proponents will point to his experience (121 career playoff games) and nice production in the 2013 playoffs (10 points in 14 games) as some of his best qualities.

Again, whatever you’d say about the Flyers, they’re rarely bland.

  1. DTF31 - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:38 AM


  2. chibimike - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:45 AM

    As a wings fan, I say Thank you Philly. I would have lost my mind seeing Cleary drop passing the puck on a breakaway with an open path to the net or missing the net by 6 feet on shots. He hustles, tries his heart out, and then fails.

  3. jimw81 - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:46 AM

    Paul Holmgren has to be using capgeek while handing out these contracts. ‘Hey, how can I handout another extension??’

  4. ibieiniid - Sep 10, 2013 at 12:49 AM

    I’m just thinking about all my Flyers fan buds sleeping sound in their flyers fan beds on their flyers fan pillows. so peaceful. little do they know their team has made a midnight move that will undoubtedly make them F***ING KILL SOMEBODY when they wake up.

    unbelievable homer. all the borderline respectable moves this summer… and now this. so who goes, Read or Gagne?

    • ericcoyle15 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:22 AM

      well first of all gagne is already gone and yes it would have been cheaper to resign hime but cleary is a totally different players much more over a gritty guy who can still score goals and its only a 3 year contract and hes under 35… is not going anywhere if there is one person going on this team it is most likely mez because he is very very injury prone even though i love him lol i think its a good singing and he brings a great leadership and locker room presence to the team

  5. cheliostwin - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:01 AM

    Cleary has said repeatedly that he wanted to stay in Detroit, that Ken Holland wanted him to stay in Detroit, but the lowered cap was making it difficult. Last week he said he had very nice offers from three other teams, but was still waiting and hoping that the Wings could sign him to a new contract. I guess he got tired of waiting, or maybe Holland told him he wouldn’t be able to work anything out, so Cleary reluctantly signed with another team. I don’t see how anyone can blame him.

    • polegojim - Sep 10, 2013 at 9:40 AM

      Yes – best wishes to Danny and his new gig.

      But… WOW… that’s serious $$$.

  6. hockeygod2893 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    What?!? I don’t understand this at all. Why not bring Gagne back for cheaper or give Laughton a spot on that 3rd line? I really hope Homer has some sort of great plan in mind.

    • jpelle82 - Sep 10, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      homer’s great plan is to go after whoever he can no matter what, nothing new. i do like the signing though, veteran 3rd liner who can kill penalties, cant really hate on that.

  7. sjsharks66 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:20 AM


  8. hockeyfan28 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:45 AM

    Good move watched him with the wings for years maybe one year to long but truly was one of their
    lockerroom leaders

  9. redridershoottheireyeout - Sep 10, 2013 at 5:11 AM

    3 months shy of 35, ridiculous

  10. hockey412 - Sep 10, 2013 at 7:52 AM

    I honestly think Holmgren signs any big name free agent he can during the summer and then sorts out the rest later. Part of that philosophy isn’t all that unreasonable, either.

    I’m not positive I’d hate this move if I was a Flyers fan, dependent on who they are planning to get rid of (if anyone) and who they are/are not going to give a chance to – there IS something to be said for having a veteran presence…I think Holmgren got that this year. But Laughton looked awfully damn interesting in his limited time in the NHL last year, would suck for him to sit out another year.

    I’m just glad the Pens didn’t sign him. Nothing against Cleary but we’ve got enough 35 year old players.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Sep 10, 2013 at 10:14 AM

      Even before this signing I was hoping Laughton took one more year in Oshawa. He’s improved greatly since they drafted him but the only way he’d make the team would be to move from center to wing, which isn’t ideal. I wanted Gagne to take his spot but Cleary will probably have similar production, so I’m ok with it. Give Laughton more first line minutes in juniors then see what happens next year.

      • hockey412 - Sep 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        So who do you sit for Cleary to play? McGinn or someone like that?

      • phillyphanatic77 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:14 PM

        I didn’t think McGinn was make the 3rd line anyway. I believed it was either Gagne or Laughton. But now it’s definitely not Gagne. And like I said it’s not the worst thing in the world to give Laughton some more seasoning. He’d playing out of position with much less minutes than he’d get in juniors. Cleary adds another veteran presence to a youth-filled forward group. I’m fine with him taking McGinns spot.

  11. martysbetter - Sep 10, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Can someone hook me up with whatever Holmgren is smoking? Dear lord…

    • thesportsjudge - Sep 10, 2013 at 11:57 AM

      Forget that, I want to meet Holmgren so he can sign me to the Flyers!

  12. mcphillthy - Sep 10, 2013 at 9:59 AM

    I woke up to read this BS?!? Wtf homer?! I would rather see laughton or mcginn on the ice than Cleary. You better have something up your sleeve… And they gave his old ass a NTC?! Why? Damn it.

  13. tz3ppb - Sep 10, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    Terrible move for Philly, but I will say thank you Philly!!! Thank you for taking him. Opens the door for some young talent we have in GR. Cleary’s only good for empty netters and penalties. This dude is WAY over rated. Go Wings!!!

  14. phillyphanatic77 - Sep 10, 2013 at 10:08 AM

    Wow most ppl seem to hate this move but I like it. Yes there’s the obvious cap issue but a few players will be sent down until Pronger’s officially back on LTIR. And/or they may be able to bribe someone into taking Meszaros (Ottawa needs defensive depth). Cleary probably shouldn’t of had more than a two year deal but I do like the addition. He will slide onto the 3rd line and complete a pretty dangerous forward group. Despite his poor season offensively, he can probably still pitch in around 15 goals and kill penalties. And as the cap rises greatly (as most predict) over the next 3 years, his contract will become less and less of a burden. I trust the front office a lot more with Hextall in there so I think they’ll be able to figure this out.

    It’s risky but I do like the pickup.

    • mcphillthy - Sep 10, 2013 at 10:37 AM

      I’m trying to stay hopeful. I’ll wait til the season to pass judgement then. But for now I’m not a fan of this signing

  15. 19to77 - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:17 PM

    Man, I hope they miss the playoffs this year. No real hate for Philly (well, no more than normal for an opposing team), but if missing them ONCE gives us this much offseason entertainment, can you even imagine round two?

  16. ryanrockzzz - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    So….does it matter that this report was denied by Holmgren, and is only being reported by the Detroit papers and by one Philly writer?

    Not saying it isn’t true- but the GM of the team said he was in camp on purely a tryout basis. This GM is also Holmgren, so I am not holding out much hope that it is NOT true, sadly…….

    • mcphillthy - Sep 10, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      You can’t believe a word that rat bastard says…. In homer we trust, right? :/

    • knollb52 - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:06 AM

      Tim Panaccio is a pretty well-respected Flyers beat report that normally doesn’t report anything unless it’s all but been confirmed by the team. I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s a done deal.

  17. alswingman - Sep 11, 2013 at 1:27 AM

    Yea, they need to make a change at GM. The sooner that happens the sooner the pain stops for Philly fans. You’re not going to the playoffs next season. Done deal.

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