Nov 2, 2013; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Detroit Red Wings forward Dan Cleary (71) tries to screen Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jason Labarbera (1) during the second period at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Cleary Could Return To Red Wings Despite Sub-Par Season


Last year, just before the Red Wings training camp, Ken Holland signed Dan Cleary to a one year contract in hopes of bringing some veteran leadership and playoff experience to the roster. Cleary had reportedly turned down a multi-year deal from the Philadelphia Flyers to return to the Red Wings organization.

Now with NHL Free Agency less than 1 month away, Cleary is once again looking for a team and the Red Wings may be willing to bring him back.

According to Helene St. James, Red Wings beat writer for the Detroit Red Wings, the Wings promised Cleary a contract his year in exchange for signing a one year deal in 2013.

In Dan Cleary’s case, when he was brought back at the 11th hour last fall, at the urging of coach Mike Babcock, it was with the understanding the Wings would ameliorate Cleary having left a three-year deal on the table in Philadelphia.

Cleary scored just four goals with four assists in 52 games with the Red Wings last season.

St. James does go on to say that the Red Wings could offer Daniel Cleary a job in scouting rather than a player. But if Babcock insisted on Cleary wearing the winged wheel last season, whats to stop him from making the same suggestion this season as well.

Deciding whether to sign Dan Cleary for this season depends upon how much Ken Holland values intangibles. Especially considering intangibles are about the only thing the Wings will get out of Cleary at this point in his career.

Tags: Dan Cleary Detroit Red Wings

  • decorideas

    This is one of the reasons why Babcock should be gone after this coming year. Why would, or should, the Wings, compensate Cleary? He wanted to stay with the Wings, but the Wings did not offer him a deal last year. So Cleary goes to the Flyers. But wait….., Babcock wants experience and leadership and forces Holland to take Cleary back. Holland did not want Cleary back, anymore than he wanted to go out and get Legwand this year and give up Eaves and Jarnkrok. But Babcock, forced him too. Babcock is playing with a stacked deck and is refusing to extend his contract unless the Wings move in a direction that suits him. Babcock wants veterans, not rookies.

    Babcock has continuously made statements that the only players who should get the right to play are the ones who earn it. Babcock’s does not believe in on-the-job training. If you don’t already perform like an experienced veteran, Babcock has no use for you. He is not interested in letting the kids learn from their mistakes. Watch and see what happens. Babcock and Holland are heading for a showdown. Holland made sure to sign Blashill first, because Blashill accepts the kids as being the future of Detroit. Blashill was dumped to Grand Rapids after one year on Babcock’s staff because they did not agree on who should get a chance to play. But Blashill proved that the kids can play, and should play.

    Babcock’s contract should NOT be renewed or extended. The kids are the future for the Wings and Blashill is the only coach the Wings have who is qualified to coach them.

  • Lyle G. LePage

    ……..Tony, that’s just great! Cleary comes back? Are the hockey gods mad at us? Cleary pays for his own wheel-chair, this time. & no med I care subsidies, either, ok?

    • Tony Fischer

      No word on subsidies Lyle

  • James Trahan

    This is the worst player I have ever witnessed play for the Winged Wheel; bar none. No one has ever been or will ever be as bad as Dan Cleary has been on this team. He offers no benefit and serves only as a detriment. This would be ANOTHER horrible decision made by Holland, which, more than likely, comes at the request of Babcock. Who do we give up for a player with no skating ability, no hands, no shot, can’t pass, isn’t physical, won’t fight, can’t stop, and is slower than anyone playing the game right now?