Helene St. James of the Detroit Press was the first to report on the agreement as she received verbal confirmation from Cleary. Due to salary cap constraints, Philadelphia will not officially announce the signing until the end of the month and will bring Cleary to training camp on a professional tryout. In total, the three-year agreement will pay the 34-year-old forward $8.25 million and will carry an annual average value of $2.75 million against the salary cap. The deal also includes some kind of no-trade protection, the extent of which hasn't surfaced yet.
Tim Panaccio of Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia spoke to an "NHL source" who confirmed the accuracy of the report.
The Flyers presently have $69.1 million in cap commitments for the 2013-14 season (without the inclusion of Cleary's contract), according to CapGeek.com. That number is going to change as the salary cap is set at $64.3 million. Injured defenseman Chris Pronger will be moved to long-term injured reserve once the season starts, which will give the team $4.9 million in relief. How the organization decides to trim cap space from there has generated debate.
Cleary is projected to slot in the team's bottom-six and is viewed as the right wing compliment to Sean Couturier and Matt Read. In 48 games last season, Cleary registered 15 points (nine goals and six assists), while averaging 16:27 of ice time per game, which included time on the penalty kill (1:08) and power play (2:30).
Originally selected with the No. 13 overall pick in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, Cleary has recorded 377 career points in 869 regular season games. Cleary had expressed hope that he could remain with the Detroit Red Wings, but salary cap commitments and a crowded forward group proved to be problematic in negotiations.