The Detroit Red Wings have come to terms on a one-year contract with unrestricted free-agent forward Daniel Cleary, the team announced on Thursday morning. The deal will pay Cleary $1.75 million next season, according to multiple reports.
This concludes a rather tumultuous turn of events, which included a reported handshake agreement to sign a three-year, $8.25 million agreement with the Philadelphia Flyers in October. Cleary and the Red Wings expressed a mutual desire to continue their working relationship. However, cap space and depth at forward seemingly complicated that initiative.
Cleary, manager Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock met on Wednesday to discuss the logistics of working out an agreement and were apparently successful in doing so. The question now remains how the team plans to become cap compliant prior to the start of the regular season. Holland stated on Thursday that he has three weeks to figure out his roster and previously said he would not use injured reserve to do so.
The Red Wings currently have 17 forwards in training camp. The team plans on carrying 14 on opening night.
Some have suggested that Cleary used Philadelphia to get a new contract out of Detroit. That is a fundamentally flawed perspective of the situation. The Flyers offered Cleary a three-year contract with far more money than the one-year agreement Detroit will ultimately sign him to.
This negotiation had no maliciousness involved and says nothing about what Cleary thinks of Philadelphia, in fact, it shows the exact opposite. Cleary and his family have made Detroit a home and he wanted to continue living there. The fact that he left money on the table to do so is reason enough to prove that.