September 21, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Detroit Red Wings right wing Dan Cleary (11) before the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE

The Return of Daniel Cleary

It’s the hot topic around the Red Wings blogosphere:

Where will Dan Cleary end up?

It turns out, he’s ending up right here in Detroit. Despite the rumors of the Philadelphia Flyers giving him a tryout at their training camp, he’s coming back to Hockeytown.

Per Helene St. James at the Detroit Free Press:


And now from the Detroit Red Wings’ Twitter itself:


So Dan Cleary remains a Detroit Red Wing for another season at $1.75 million.

Fans are incredulous. There are already too many forwards for the roster. Adding Cleary into the mix makes thing even messier. Players like Jordin Tootoo, Todd Bertuzzi, and Mikael Samuelsson* already understand that they have to fight for a roster spot. Most are worried about what this means for Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, and Joakim Andersson. And what about someone like Patrick Eaves?

(* The Samuelsson one may just be wishful thinking on my part…)

The Red Wings are going to have to clear almost $2.4 million when they make three roster spots. And it won’t be as easy as sending down someone like Cory Emmerton and two others.

Most people would think that having too many forwards is a good problem to have, but the Red Wings have been doing this dance for the past three seasons. It was a constant rotation of Drew Miller and Eaves. Last season, Tootoo was thrown into the mix. Last season also saw a lot of Grand Rapids Griffins players filling in for injured forwards and proving their worth. A full time gig for them would be nice, but alas…

At this point in the dance, fans are just tired of Dan Cleary. It was obvious from the start that he never wanted to leave Detroit–it’s been a good home to him, there’s no denying that–but most people believe it was his time to move on. He has done his part on the team and now it’s time for younger players to step up.

Well, you can’t always get what you want, right?

For now, let’s sit back and see how Ken Holland plans on trimming down the roster in the next three weeks. And let’s enjoy the fact that hockey is so very, very close that we can almost taste it.

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