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Report: Cleary-to-Philly hits snag — back to Detroit? (Updated)

Sep 11, 2013, 2:59 PM EDT

clearyap AP

The Dan Cleary saga isn’t over. Far from it.

The 34-year-old veteran — who had signed a professional try out to attend Flyers camp — will not be joining the team, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.

The saga began when Cleary, who’d spent the last eight years in Detroit, rejected the Wings’ offer of attending their camp on a PTO because he had “guaranteed contract” offers from other NHL clubs.

One of those was believed to be from Philadelphia. The Flyers reportedly offered Cleary a three-year, $8.25 million deal — one that could not be made official until the Flyers became cap compliant (which would’ve occurred when Chris Pronger was put on LTIR at the beginning of the regular season in October).

As such, it came as no surprise on Tuesday when Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told the Philadelphia Inquirer “there are no promises” for a Cleary contract.

Holmgren said Cleary was only in Philadelphia on a professional try out (PTO) for training camp, which was followed by this official word from the Flyers website…

Cleary signed a PTO with the Flyers Tuesday and will be in camp with the team Thursday. This likely means the Flyers will not bring Simon Gagne to camp on a tryout.

If the Flyers want to sign Cleary – or Gill for that matter – they’ll have to clear some cap space first, which could be on Sept. 30, when Chris Pronger is officially moved to the long-term injury list and his money comes off the salary cap.

It’s possible the Flyers got in hot water for agreeing to a “handshake deal” with Cleary prior to having the actual cap space to sign him. That remains to be seen.

A similar situation occurred in Washington a few years ago when center Eric Belanger had verbally agreed to sign with the Caps, but needed to wait until Washington cleared cap space via trade.

Once the story got out, the Belanger-to-Washington deal was scuttled and he signed with Phoenix instead.

More on this story as it develops.


According to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio, the Flyers had no comment on the Cleary situation. Earlier, the club stated Cleary was supposed to be in attendance Wednesday, but that appearance had been pushed back to Thursday instead.

Panaccio also notes Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said he’d spoken with both Cleary and Hal Gill, also in Philly on a PTO, about their roles in camp.


The Philly Inquirer spoke to Holmgren, who said he still expects Cleary to report to camp on Thursday.


TSN’s Aaron Ward is now reporting of a meeting on Wednesday between Cleary, Detroit GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock.

  1. jpelle82 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    flyers fans will be relieved i guess judging from the outcry that was exhibited based on the initial reports. at least now the other teams out there know what to expect for salary and term if they want to sign him, eases the negotiating process now that his contract expectations are clear.

  2. hockeydon10 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Well, if anything this will certainly teach GMs to stop telling reporters anything.

    I wonder if GM Lou Lamoriello’s reluctance to discuss anything with the press stems from being burned in some similar fashion.

  3. narfmoo12 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    Welcome back, Gagne!

  4. 950003cups - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    snag (sng)

    1. A result of your desperate agent purposely not informing you that it was merely a tryout:
    2. When you’re dumb enough to think that you are still an unemployed FA a week before training camp, that you can dictate any contract negotiations.

    • narfmoo12 - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:32 PM

      It did seem pretty far-fetched that a 34 year old free agent would be able to sign a 3 year deal worth almost $3M per year and get a no trade clause in the middle of September.

  5. mcphillthy - Sep 11, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Great news! Cleary is welcome to the team bit much closer to 1.5m and two years. Anything more than that is overpaying. Glad to hear that deal didn’t happen

  6. holeecowman - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    smoke and mirrors by homer lol just wait and see

  7. scrouch - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:26 PM

    If the contract terms were legitimate from Philly I don’t see Detroit matching anywhere close to it. 3 years at that salary with a no trade? That’s crazy. And considering that Detroit is already above the cap I’m not sure what they are planning to do.

  8. President Charles Logan - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    The Flyers need Hal Gill and/or any other defensive help more then they do Cleary or the washed up Gagne.

    • ibieiniid - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      ::ahem:: PIETRANGELO ::ahem::

      i said this on one of the first Cleary articles that mentioned the Flyers interest: “if the Flyers grabbed him, that’d be Read’s ticket out of town….. but I highly doubt they sign Cleary.”

      I highly doubt we get Pietrangelo, but……………

      • ibieiniid - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        jk. article right after this says 7mil. i don’t care who they move, Flyers aren’t fitting that.

      • narfmoo12 - Sep 11, 2013 at 8:36 PM

        Trade Meszaros ($4M) for nothing in a salary dump and put Pronger on the LTIR ($4.8M). Wow that was tough to figure out.

      • jimw81 - Sep 12, 2013 at 12:05 AM

        flyers could get good in return for Meszaros or colburn to carolina since they are desperate for a defenseman.

  9. ibieiniid - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    this new division rivalry is going to be VERRRRRY interesting if he somehow ends up back in Detroit. i’m almost hoping it happens.

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 11, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      Perhaps you meant to say ‘conference rivalry?” Philly and Detroit are not in the same division.

      • ibieiniid - Sep 12, 2013 at 8:10 AM

        ya true that. mybad.

  10. datsyukdominates - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    The Wings are also over the cap and have two players too many signed before even considering Cleary…so tell me again how that works. As a Wings fan, we appreciate Cleary but his time has passed. We have way too many great prospects to bring him back!

    • ibieiniid - Sep 11, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      it works the same way the Flyers were gonna fit him under their cap…… magic.

  11. canucks30 - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:26 PM

    Never has more attention been paid to someone more irrelevant.

    No disrespect to Cleary who revitalized his career and won a Stanley Cup, but at this stage any impact he will have on a roster his minimal.

    • mcphillthy - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:13 PM

      Agreed. Cleary is not a game changer and I don’t understand all the hype over him. If hockey season was underway and we had something relevant to talk about this would barely even be news. Too much hype over a role player, imo. I’m ready for hockey season to start.

    • hockeydon10 - Sep 11, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      The hype is purely based on how he really finds the next level in the playoffs. Granted, it’s not like he suddenly becomes a 1st line player, but then it’s not just about the number of points he puts up. Red Wings fans can attest that he really ‘gets it’ when it comes to leaving it all on the ice come playoff time.

  12. phillyphanatic77 - Sep 11, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Well I can’t say I’m thrilled with this speculation (I was one of the few Flyers fans happy about the Cleary addition), but if he thinks Detroit is going to offer him a guaranteed contract (close to the Flyers supposed offer) then his agent is lying to him. Detroit doesn’t have enough room for the forwards they already have under contract. Meanwhile, he would slot perfectly onto the Flyers 3rd line.

    Hopefully he’s just trying to leverage an offer from the Flyers (if the 3yr deal was untrue), instead of working off a PTO. I’d love to see Cleary in orange and black this fall.

  13. docvegas - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    just what the flyers need, another old man. i hope cleary goes somewhere else. all he would be doing is taking a job away from a young player who rather see in the lineup. if he was worth anything detroit would not have left him walk.

  14. docvegas - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    shy do the flyers love to sign OLD MEN on their way down instead of young players on their way up. if cleary was worth anything detroit would not have let him walk. besides that all he would be doing is taking a job away from say a young prospect like mcginn, laughton etc.

    • mcphillthy - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      I’ve said this for days. Let the kids play and Let the fossils die somewhere else. Philly is the graveyard for washed up players

      • jimw81 - Sep 11, 2013 at 7:29 PM

        can gagne play defense?

      • docvegas - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        it has been that way since the paul coffey days and has gotten worse

    • phillyphanatic77 - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      First off, the reason Detroit didn’t immediately bring him back was bc of the numbers game out there. The Wings have 16 forwards under contract right now and two more they wanted back (Cleary and Brunner). Eventho Cleary is not the same player he was on the Cup teams he still brings value. And Detroit has made it clear, despite an inordinate amount of bodies, that they want Cleary back. You shouldn’t mistake Cleary being cast off solely for declining production, when, in reality, the Wings just didn’t have cap and roster space to bring him back. I didn’t necessarily like the supposed contract with the Flyers but that doesn’t mean Cleary wouldn’t have contributed nicely here.

      And ppl need to remember that Laughton is only 19. It’s not a necessity that he play immediately in the NHL. In fact, it may even be more beneficial for him to get one more season of 1st line minutes in Oshawa before he’s relegated to the 3rd or 4th line in Philly. And eventho I like McGinn, both Cleary and Gagne would bring more versatile contributions to the 3rd line.

      • mcphillthy - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:47 PM

        Gagne over Cleary any day of the week. Yes I am biased on this decision but I don’t see anything Cleary has over Gagne except some grit. I would rather see Gagne here over Cleary. Period. As I said earlier if Cleary is 1.5m a season then welcome to the team.

  15. geo91 - Sep 11, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    It’s Dan Cleary we’re talking about, who the hell cares!

  16. jimw81 - Sep 11, 2013 at 7:26 PM

    the reason they wanted clearly because he brought more grittiness as a third liner to shut down a crosby or malkin, something gagne cant do late in his career. Flyers are now going to do one or two things a) offer sheet Pietrangelo or b) make a trade.

    gagne isnt in the flyers plans.

  17. mrpinkca - Sep 11, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    I just sort of figured the “snag” was Paul Holmgren sobering up…

    • docvegas - Sep 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      that is funny, you know paul obviously

  18. jimw81 - Sep 11, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    add an foruth updated:

    Frank Seravalli ‏@DNFlyers

    Flyers say Dan Cleary is in a group skating at 8:30am tomorrow at Wells Fargo. I guess we’ll see then.

    you know its hockey season when drama and controversy starts up with philadelphia flyers

  19. xjokerz - Sep 11, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Wings fans don’t want him back

  20. mclovinhockey - Sep 12, 2013 at 7:24 AM

    Not saying this could happen or anything would come close to happening but the flyers already have too many D.
    So prongers to LTIR… They are almost 3 mill under, if they moved 2 D and a forward in a 3 way trade they could easily get a top notch D (let’s say Mez, Coburn and B schenn) however, if they wanted Pietrangelo, they just trade Coburn and Mez and they can sign Pietrangelo for 8 mill, Gill to be a 7th D and still have cash for Gagne.
    So it easily could happen….. But it won’t

  21. umgoblue - Sep 12, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Word is Cleary’s wife did NOT want to move to Philly. He’s heading up to Traverse City to skate with the Wings right now.

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