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Cleary agrees to one-year deal with Red Wings

Jul 10, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT

Daniel Cleary AP

After spending a week and a half on the free agent market, Dan Cleary has agreed to a one-year extension with the Detroit Red Wings.

The team hasn’t disclosed the financial terms, but Cleary will reportedly earn at least $1.5 million and that could balloon to $2.5 million if he activates all his bonuses, per TSN’s Darren Dreger.

Cleary used to be a reliable secondary scorer, but he’s declined in recent years. He had just four goals and eight points in 52 games before his season ended due to a knee injury.

It’s worth noting that the Red Wings supposedly promised to take care of Cleary for the 2014-15 campaign after he passed on a reported three-year, $8.25 million contract with the Flyers in September to sign a one-year deal with Detroit.

Detroit had cap space to spare after it failed to lure big-name free agents this summer.

  1. adamal17 - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:15 PM


  2. fusionix7 - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Every Detroit fan just did a collective face palm.

    • cbaum44 - Jul 11, 2014 at 8:55 AM

      i had a heavy sigh and shook my head way too hard at this one. stings just as much as quincey being resigned this year.

  3. tigers182 - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Traded a first rounder for Kyle Quincy.

    Gave up a 2nd rounder and a top prospect for 2 months of David Legwand.

    Resigned Kyle Quincy

    Resigned Dan Cleary

    Ken Holland hates the Red Wings.

    • rbbbaron - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:15 AM

      Don’t stop there.

      Tells Hudler to walk for money he’s proven himself worthy of.

      Takes money that would’ve/should’ve otherwise gone to Hudler and signs Tootoo and Sammy.

      Tells Val to walk for money that he’s proving himself worthy of.

      Takes money that would’ve/should’ve gone to Val and signs Weiss.

      • pwshrugged - Jul 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        Hudler was garbage in his last season as a Red Wing, and Filpulla’s career was a Wing was marked by much streakiness. Both can be good players, but they never were consistently as Red Wings.

        Hudler looked slow, old, and unmotivated in his last season, and at the time, Wings fans applauded his departure, and most people thought he was being overpaid by Calgary. Hudler’s revival is a great story, but one no one saw coming. As for Filpulla, he’s indicated that he wanted an opportunity to have a bigger role on a team, which he got in Tampa. As a Red Wing, yes, he had some great stretches and some good seasons, but then he’d absolutely disappear for a month. I always liked his level of play, and am happy to see that he’s elevated it consistently in Tampa – but there was no guarantee that’d happen in Detroit.

        However, I agree that re-signing Samuelsson never made any sense, and neither did signing Tootoo, however likable Tootoo is and however good Samuelsson used to be.

        As for Weiss, obviously, a bust so far – but with four years left, who’s to say. The biggest downside to the Weiss deal is that it might block other players unless someone transitions to the wing. We have a lot of very good centers outside of our top line, and I’d hate to see Sheahan, Helm, or Glendening get bumped.

        It’s irrational to pretend that every player has some burning desire to be a Red Wing. They don’t. That’s okay. That’s not necessarily an organizational failure (at this time). Both Hudler and Filpulla wanted to go somewhere else after years of being mid-level guys here; good for them. They deserved a bigger shot somewhere else. When a guy leaves, you put that money elsewhere. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

        Regardless, the Red Wings continue to field an exciting team that’s enjoyable to watch and capable of a deep playoff run every season. Oh, woe!

      • rbbbaron - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:48 PM

        Yeah, that bum Hudler and his 50pts and +10 during his last season with the wings was quite the trainwreck. And those advanced stats of his, among the team’s best, well we all know those are a crock.
        Dude I’m pretty sure it was you who in an earlier post tried to sell this BS narrative of Val and Hudler leaving because they wanted to go elsewhere. Horse$#it. They both wanted to stay but Holland told Hudler to walk because he didn’t want to pay the 4mil that Hudler’s agent was looking for, same with Val when he was reportedly looking for a 5yr deal that Holland didn’t want give him (and instead gave to Weiss…brilliant). Franzen, Kronwall, and more recently Ericsson were worth 5+ yrs to Holland…

    • pjblake2redwings - Jul 11, 2014 at 7:52 AM

      Ken Holland not only hates the Red Wings, He hates America! If Mantha, Jurco, or Tatar dont play this season over this bum I will be so pissed. 97.1 the ticket said it best. If I was Zetty or Dats and coming to an end in my career soon I would be livid that this is what management gives me to play with.

  4. pwshrugged - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:23 PM

    This reminds me of Maltby’s last deal.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Cleary doesn’t make the team out of camp, or if he does, spends most of his time as a healthy scratch, and ends up a scout or something by the 1st of the year.

    • rbbbaron - Jul 11, 2014 at 5:59 AM

      So you think Holland is paying the guy up to 2.5mil because Holland expects him to not make it out of training camp or otherwise sit in the press box? Or is this something that you might actually differ with Holland on? Just trying to get into the thinking of a faithful Holland apologist.
      Maybe you can also tell us what exactly about this deal reminds you about Maltby’s final deal. Maltby made less than 900k, Cleary might get 3x that. I’m pretty sure Maltby didn’t have a NTC on his deal either. Cleary is landing with one helluva golden parachute, according to your narrative.

      Wishful thinking is all some Detroit fans have these days

      • pwshrugged - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM

        Here are the scenarios that present themselves with the Cleary signing.

        1 – Cleary makes the team, providing some depth across the lineup and, if nothing else, a reliable grinder on the 3rd/4th line. The upside here is that he brings in some scoring and some grit and is a somewhat consistent producer; if healthy, I could see him playing with Glendening and Miller and producing nicely. He hits some incentives, costs a few hundred thousand more.

        2 – Cleary makes the team and sucks or gets injured, like last year, and ends up on season-ending IR, a healthy scratch, or in Grand Rapids more often than not. He doesn’t meet any incentives and costs the base 1.5M.

        3 – Cleary doesn’t make the team, and ends up falling into another organizational role or being cut outright prior to the season starting.

        This is a really simple, really benign transaction. First and foremost, Cleary is not taking away money that would be used elsewhere. The Wings will come in well below the salary cap ceiling this year, so this is signing keeps an organizational promise to Cleary while providing depth. Maybe that works, maybe not. As long as he doesn’t take a roster spot from a promising younger player, I fail to see the harm. Holland and Ilitch clearly have a soft spot for Cleary, but Babcock has shown no hesitation to bench him when he plays poorly.

        Say what you want about organizational loyalty, but that’s been a hallmark of Ilitch-owned teams. Both the Tigers and Red Wings do most of their building from within, and neither team signs splashy free agents – both make more mid-tier free agent signings for short or moderate length, as opposed to large contracts for long durations (unless it’s an in-house player). Nothing happening with the Wings this off-season has been anything but par for the course.

  5. wutangwild - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:23 PM


  6. jmcurran28 - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    Look on the bright side fellow Wings’ fans. We all know his knee(s) won’t hold up all season and it’s only a matter of time before one of the grinders get called up from GR to replace him and that’s all assuming he even has a roster spot coming out of training camp.

    There’s even a chance he might have a somewhat productive season. It’s not like he’s taking Mantha’s spot on the bottom two lines.

    The Red Wings will endure.

  7. phillyphanatic77 - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    I am so happy this guy changed his mind last summer. I thought he could be an okay 3rd liner for the Flyers but that 3-year deal would’ve been another Paul Holmgren created handcuff. I’m sure Hextall is thanking his lucky stars that Cleary spurned Philadelphia as well.

    I really don’t get what Holland is doing over in Detroit. First he pays Kyle Quincey almost $9 million and then extends an offer to an unneeded, over the hill forward. Is this a two-way deal? I’d sure hope so bc it’s time to give those 52 games to the talented young guys the Wings have. Loyalty can be a dangerous trait when it comes to GM’s.

    • blinkyhowe - Jul 10, 2014 at 8:08 PM

      Well if you figure out what Holland’s doing post it so 2 million hockey fans in the metro D area know what it is. Because i can tell you-the hundreds i have talked to have nooooo clue. It was difficult enough last year watching Cleary flail away, Samuelson evaporate and Too Too sit all eating up nearly $ 7.5 in cap while Gus Nyquist sat in Grand Rapids.

      Finally, after 25 games they brought him up and 28 Gs later he and the kids barely got the Wings into the playoffs. Holland has done nothing the last 3 years except to use Z’s connection to get Alphie to the D for a season. Hopefully, Cleary has another knee problem and they send him to Medicine Hat as a scout. Then let them play Pulkinen, Mantha anyone who can still skate and score on an empty net.

  8. carguysauto - Jul 10, 2014 at 5:58 PM

    Unreal you give Cleary the same money that was giving to Dan Heatly a two time 50 goal scorer who has averaged 70 points per season 863 372 419 791 almost a point per game player! WTF no more season tickets for me I’m out. And then if he hits all his bonuses he can make 2.5 million. Jim Nill was obviously the brains in the organization Not Ken Holland Lokk at the move Dallas has made with Nill inn charge.

    • eduncan8888 - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:40 PM

      you need to relax dude. The Heatly deal is not comparable to this situation, Heatly clearly (no pun intended) agree to a brad richards-esque deal so he could get a real shot at a title. Look at the recent history of guys with-in the organization who played a similar pattern. Maltby, Draper, Holmer, Cleary. None of these guys had the sexy play style of datsyuk but they all had some attribute that made them into great roll players (guts, speed, hand-eye, etc) and they accepted their rolls and gave it everything they had with little recognition. Cleary is probably good for the swede morale in the locker room and a good mentor for our young players, this will be his last year as a pro and then I see him taking some developmental role within the organization like the other players I mentioned.

      I really don’t see how Cleary’s signing could be any sort of a negative for the wings, if he’s not producing he wont play and if the wings are really in need of that 1.5 mil cap space Clearys the type of guy who would manufacture a knee injury in my opinion and take that hit off the books. Also if we do end up having to trade a young forward for a top 4 d man at the deadline Cleary is versatile enough to plug that hole as babcock has pretty much played him in every line in every situation.

      People have so little faith in holland its disgusting, this isn’t the Detroit Lions, it’s the Red Wings. You don’t need to question every single move they make and assume that you know better than the gm.

      Sorry the gm can’t get super stars the sign on the cheap like he could when we had a young Yzerman and Federov or a young Datsyuk and Zetterberg,

      Sorry Michigan has more tax than certain other southern states.

      Sorry Detroit isn’t the bustling metropolis it once was (could you imagine being a visiting team and only seeing the drive from the air port to the Joe? what would you think of the city? You’re not seeing the suburbs peeps, you’re seeing decay.) If you are in a city where you’re driving at night and a cop pulls you over but waves you forward until you get to a working street light and then the cop comes up to your car to say “Just wanted to let you know that you probably shouldn’t stop at red lights this time of night, just yield and go through” you’re probably not as attractive as you think, just saying.

      • partsman193509 - Jul 10, 2014 at 8:19 PM

        He didn’t sign any of the free agent’s so why would he sign Cleary kinda stupid on his part I would say.Play the kids if you aren’t signing anybody.I t sure don’t make sense to me or anyone else.

  9. 19to77 - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    Oh my f–king God Holland

  10. adamal17 - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:11 PM

    I keep trying to find the good in this situation…and it’s making my head hurt. Maybe the young guns will learn from his resiliency? Maybe it will show other free agents we keep our promises? But I keep coming back to the “Maybe he won’t pass the physical”… I think he’ll have a better season than he did last year; because lets be honest, could it get any worse?

    • jernster21 - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:54 PM

      I really don’t get it to be honest. They desperately need a top defenseman and there’s always been chatter of going after Yandle, but how could they not have landed him by now via trade after they’ve given up 1st and 2nd round picks for pretty much nothing in return? Seems like they’re super stingy with those picks but then when they decide to use them, they’re completely and utterly misused. The only thing that’s going to lure free agents is 1) big money 2) winning, depending on the player, those two things are interchangeable.

  11. mshantz22 - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    I love danny Cleary as a guy but not as a player.

  12. guitarhunterdude - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    It’s becoming clear that either Holland’s lost his mind or he was never the brains behind the great Red Wings management.

  13. dtownbeatdown - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Finally the big signing we have all been waiting for. Might as well crown us the Stanley Cup Champs already.

    I imagine the Joe will be quite empty this season. Way to waste Datsyuks and Zetterbergs last few years.

  14. c9castine - Jul 10, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    ive long been a detroit “fan” meaning the way they run their organization and how well they draft, develop, and make sneaky smart decisions. but think back, how long has it been that people are saying detroit is getting older, and not infusing enough solid talent to compensate for so many players retiring or getting washed up at seemingly the same time.

    last couple years have been rough for ken holland and company, lets just say that.

  15. bruceeff - Jul 10, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    With the Wings’ glaring offseason acquisition failures, it’s clear the only thing the 2014-2015 season will be good for is to give the team’s youngsters more NHL experience. The fact that Holland would see fit to take one of those spots away from a young player that needs seasoning and hand it (and a wad of cash) to a useless goat like Cleary is infuriating.

  16. 101starmymedic - Jul 10, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Jesus, I should go park my ace outside of The Joe and do some fancy twirls and maybe some bicep curls and other dumb crap. Maybe I’ll get a contract out of it.

  17. 4everwingsfan - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Depth. Depth. Depth…that’s all this is. They have the money and made promises. May not a good sign, but not many people keep their word.

  18. porkchopexpress1969 - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:19 PM


    This depth depth is going to delay more learning by the youngsters as In Jurco. He will start the season in GR. He earned a spot.

  19. roblo76 - Jul 10, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    What a waste of a 50 man contract spot. This guy is dinner, because he is DONE.

  20. BobbyLashleyFanboy - Jul 10, 2014 at 11:23 PM

    Why don’t they just donate 2.5 mil to charity? It’d be better well served.

  21. 4everwingsfan - Jul 11, 2014 at 6:58 AM

    If Cearly can make a spot out of camp, then great. But Babcock is not going to put him in just because. Not they way the other kids have played. He is going to have to earn his spot. Like he did years ago.

  22. mizbinboston - Jul 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    …can’t… even… just…wtf…wtf wtf WTF!?!?!?!

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