Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings management staff continue to confound us all. It was reported yesterday morning that Dan Cleary had signed a contract with the Flyers, or at least had the intention of doing so once the Flyers cleared some cap space by placing Chris Pronger on LTIR. The contract was going to carry an AAV of $2.75 million and would have Cleary wearing orange for three years with a full No-Trade Clause. The contract was also going to be based on a Professional Tryout, meaning Cleary would have to dazzle a bit at the Flyers camp. The hockey world quickly began to wonder why a team with gaping holes in defense and goaltending would want to spend that kind of money on a defensive forward with questionable knees. The agreement between the two parties seemed like it had set a home for Cleary for the coming years, but there appears to be some sort of complication in that agreement, however, as it was reported this afternoon that the deal is off.
This may make you wonder a bit where Cleary is going to end up. He had received offers from other teams throughout the off-season but continued to talk with the Red Wings. There was even word that he’d show up to the Wings’ camp. This was later denied by Cleary, claiming that he did not want to attend any team’s camp without a contract in place, and who could blame him for that? Cleary reportedly turned down offers from Pittsburgh and Dallas to continue negotiating with the Red Wings, and again who could blame him for that? Some in the fan base love Cleary, although they are few and far between. The general concensus is that he’s too old, too much of a liability, his time has come and gone and it’s about time we gave a chance to some youngsters! Those who agree with that sentiment would cringe at this rumor from this afternoon:
Perhaps there is a chance that Cleary’s days wearing the Winged Wheel are not quite finished. On the one hand, this worries me. I’m not quite as hateful towards Cleary as some are, but if it comes down to having Cleary or say Nyquist or Bertuzzi, Cleary had better leave. Hell, I think Tootoo serves the team better than Cleary at this point. However, I am often reminding myself and others that Holland rarely leads this team astray. If he thinks Cleary is the right move, I’ll scratch my head a bit but I’ll believe in Holland’s decision.
Who out there could be hoping and praying that this alleged meeting results in Cleary playing for Detroit again? Well there’s at least one guy…