Detroit Red Wings Can’t Seem to Let Dan Cleary Go


To quote a Eminem song “Guess who’s back, back again”. Dan Cleary is back with the Detroit Red Wings on a one year deal worth $950,000. For all the good that Ken Holland and the Red Wings management have done there is one issue they need to address.

The Red Wings organization has a really bad habit of bringing back former Red Wing players. Mikael Samuelson was brought back and was not the same player as he was in his first stint with the Wings. Dan Cleary has been brought back time and again even though he also isn’t playing at the same level he was earlier in his career.

Cleary was a unrestricted free agent and went the whole off-season without any team offering him a contract until the Red Wings did. He recorded a grand total of two points last season while playing in only 17 regular season games and made zero appearances in the playoffs.

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I’m sure Dan Cleary is a nice guy, but the harsh reality is that the NHL is a business and Dan Cleary is probably not one of the 23 best players the Red Wings could use to fill out their.

When Kris Draper, Kirk Maltby and Chris Chelios retired the Red Wings gave them positions within the organization. Why couldn’t the Wings offer that to Dan Cleary? Make him a scout or a coach.

Maybe the Wings have a deal with Cleary if he doesn’t make the roster to give him a spot in the front office. The point, is the one issue with Ken Holland is that he can’t let go of the past. No, Cleary isn’t guaranteed a roster spot but that $950,000 could’ve been better spent elsewhere.

The Red Wings, for the past couple seasons, have finally started bringing up the young guys — Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan, etc. But having Cleary back these last two seasons has cost the Wings a prospect in Andrej Nestrasil who had to be placed on waivers and was subsequently picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes.

Also, Gustav Nyquist wasn’t able to be brought up to the main roster until late November.

Nestrasil may or may not turn out to be a good player but I would rather have him out on the ice then a 35-year-old (at the time) Dan Cleary. Nyquist not coming to the main roster in 2013 until late November may have cost the Wings a chance to avoid playing Boston in the playoffs.

As I said in a previous article, the Red Wings roster is very solid which is why I don’t believe Dan Cleary makes the team.

As Ryan Lambert from Yahoo Sports stated, the cap most likely isn’t going up by a whole lot in the future so General Managers need to be responsible with payroll alocation. Bringing Cleary back is not responsible, in my opinion.

Hopefully Ken Holland realizes that Cleary is not one of the 23 top players on the Wings and gives Cleary a job in the Red Wings front office. One more thought: Jiri Hudler is a former Red Wings and he’s a free agent next year. STAY AWAY KENNY!

Next: Detroit Red Wings Re-sign Dan Cleary

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