Over the next couple weeks we will be looking at Detroit Red Wings’ players who are becoming Unrestricted Free Agents this summer and deciding whether Red Wings should re-sign them or cut them loose.
HEIGHT: 6′ 0″
CAP HIT: $1,750,000
STATS: 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) / 52 games played
The Detroit Red Wings signed Daniel Cleary to a one-year 1.75 million dollar deal last off-season and it came as a surprise. Cleary had a three-year, $7.25 million dollar contract offer waiting for him in Philadelphia, but in the final minutes decided to stay in Detroit for less.
Cleary is a grinding forward, who likes to get his nose dirty in the corners and in front of the goaltender. On the power play, Cleary was probably the best net front player for Detroit, better than both Todd Bertuzzi and Justin Abdelkader.
A knee injury and then subsequent shot that was supposed to relieve his pain ended his season.
The interesting part about Cleary is what Helene St. James had to say about a verbal agreement between Cleary and the Red Wings.
Daniel Cleary is in a different boat. When he rejoined the Wings on the urging of coach Mike Babcock last September, it was with a verbal agreement that Cleary would be employed by the Wings beyond this season. Given how poorly this season went for Cleary — he was unproductive before becoming a healthy scratch, and then finished the spring injured — he is likely to be offered a front-office job.
There is a lot to like about Daniel Cleary and the way he plays the game, but at thirty-five and coming off another knee injury it is time for Detroit to let him walk off into the sunset.