Why the Red Wings Re-Signed Cleary, and Why We Don’t Like It

As was probably expected amongst the pessimists of the fanbase, the Detroit Red Wings have re-signed Danny Cleary to a 1-year, $1.5 million contract, plus a possible $1 million in games played bonuses, for a possible salary this season of $2.5 million.

Why did this atrocity occur? Simple; the Red Wings organization is loyal to its veterans. In this case, too loyal. According to Helene St. James of the Free Press, when Cleary walked out on the Flyers in June of last year to re-sign a 1-year deal with Detroit, he left money and term on the table on the good faith of Kenny Holland that he would be taken care of this season in terms of getting a new deal. So in sticking with his word, Holland brought the 35-year old veteran back into the fold, even after an injury-plague campaign last season. In 52 games played, Cleary registered only 4 goals and 4 assists. He finished the season a minus-11, and did not participate in any regular season or playoff games past the month of January.

This leads into why we don’t like it; Cleary is well past his prime. 35 years is a long time for any hockey player, even more so for one with the injury vulnerabilities that Cleary has. After RFA Tomas Tatar signs a new deal with Detroit, and assuming UFA Daniel Alfredsson decides to stay another year, that will put the Red Wings at 15 forwards on contract for next season. The only youngster still exempt from waivers is Tomas Jurco, who may now unfortunately end up spending more time with the Grand Rapids Griffins in the AHL, even after putting up a spectacular showing last season with Detroit. Cleary being re-signed also heightens the threat of an impending trade of one of our young forwards, (Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, Luke Glendening), as the Red Wings are still in the market for a veteran defenseman to bolster the blue-line. Virtually, they signed Cleary to a $1.5 million contract to be a 13th forward, and risk having to get rid of a budding young prospect to make/maintain room for him.

While Cleary’s years with us and loyalty to this organization are greatly appreciated, he isn’t any kind of solution the Red Wings need right now. His age and injury problems make him more of a liability than an asset, and even with all the conditioning he’s allegedly done through the off-season, there are still plenty of young players and prospects that could out-perform him for even less of a cap hit, and we would stand a better chance of keeping them all within our organization, instead of having to trade them away or risk losing them to waivers. We can only hope that the front office has more plans in mind for Cleary, and that this wasn’t solely for the sake of Holland keeping his word to save face.

3 reasons the Detroit Red Wings need to hire Barry Trotz

-Nathan Webb

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49 thoughts on “Why the Red Wings Re-Signed Cleary, and Why We Don’t Like It”

  1. the fact that the move was made at all is enough to understand it. I am sure we could have found a better way to spend a couple MILLION dollars. I am always one to stand up for loyalty but, not at the expense of the team. this move just stinks. I honestly would have been more excited with more meaningless two way signings. at least we can tuck those away in GR.

  2. Um. I really don’t get this. All the cap space they have and have done nothing but head scratching moves. This one hurts.

  3. Might as well throw Samuelson a few million, he needs a team too. Give Uwe Krupp a call while your at it.

  4. It has been a strange summer for the Red Wings. They did not land any free agents that could make any big impact on the team. The only way I see them improving now is making trades. Question now is..Who do you trade? And there are still some players currently not signed on the Red Wing team. I guess we will just have to sit back and see how this all plays out.

  5. As Nathan stated, a very retarded move! No, he didn’t state it in those words…..but essentially, that’s what were all saying. Question: Isn’t the idea and objective to improve the Red Wings?

  6. These young guns are the way of the future there time is now, hopefully cleary will have a solid
    Season coming up and not leave us with holes
    Being injured

    The team and this guy have lost it!!

  8. Landon Ferraro and Mitch Callahan could be the casualties of this signing. They are out of options, and while they are not top tier prospects, they bring more to the table than a broken down Cleary. Teams now know we have no choice but to move a forward or two. They can hold Holland hostage to get what they want. This move was beyond stupid.

  9. Holland is on the phone with Boyd Devereaux’s agent as we speak. Dude has lost his marbles. Trade him for Nill now and quickly.

  10. Reposting
    He is not the same player he once was….but you realize he took a massive paycut to stay loyal to HIS team last year? we have cap space and this is better than overpaying for someone who is only slightly better for multiple years…It was time to reward him for his loyalty and leadership

  11. He is our next best thing we have since Homer left for net presence. Veteran presence is huge for some of you that just watch from the sideline. I’m not taking a side here, but a lot of people are quick to judge a stand-up organization and their decisions. Besides, if we’re looking for a top 4 defenseman, the Cleary signing means nothing. Teams will still pursue our young guys.

  12. We don’t like it cause we are stocked full of talent that need to play! This league is no longer a place where the vets loosing a step can make it with savy play. SPEED KILLS n last I checked cleary has lost far too many steps, he’s not dependable with the puck anywhere. Looks like jurco is playing the nyquist role of last year all for Cleary smh

  13. I like Cleary but we better not get rid of any of the great young guys who made it possible for the wings to get into the playoffs…

  14. Are you high? He gets thrown around out front. They should have taken a stab at holmquivst! He went real cheap. Cleary had maybe 3 points 2 goals max playing out front, he had more interference calls than anything, it’s time for youth the rest of the nhl is finding that these young kids today can play

  15. Well they just over paid for a pylon that takes a spot from the future. Stupid if you ask me

  16. Anybody saying fire Holland is crazy. Best GM in the NHL. There will be a reason they signed Cleary.

  17. Don’t have to read the article to know what a colossal screw up this is. Holland is losing his touch.

  18. I bet you a Major trade is coming up. All these minimal trades and contracts. I hope we don’t get rid of a really good player.

  19. I thought maybe Holland was a smart guy, but sometimes he proves me wrong. I don’t know if he resigned Cleary because he likes him and doesn’t wanna hurt his feelings or what, but this is a terrible move by Kenny.

  20. Fire Holland, really? you people are out of your minds. The guy is clearly one of if not the best GM(s) in the league. He may not make the best decisions all the time, but he definitely knows what he’s doing. For us to do something as crazy as fire him would be downright ludicrous.

  21. Its idiotic and Holland should be fired over it. They signed Cleary for more than Danny Heatley got yesterday and Heatley was a 50 goal scorer in his day. Compound this with Quincy and it adds up to panic moves by an organization that’s slowly realizing they’re not “the destination” anymore.

  22. Danny Cleary’s best years as a Wing are behind him. Still can’t figure out, though, why they signed Quincey.

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