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St. James: Daniel Cleary may yet return to the Red Wings…Somehow…

The Detroit Free Press's Helene St. James delivers some absolutely baffling news given the Red Wings' roster crunch and salary cap issues, stating that Daniel Cleary's going to start skating with the Wings today, and that the Wings are still interested in somehow bringing Cleary back into the fold:

Cleary ultimately decided he wants to stay in Detroit, and the Wings do want him back. He was their second-leading scorer in the playoffs, with 10 points in 14 games, leading the team with five points in the second-round series against Chicago.

The Wings already have 16 forwards under contract for next season and plan to carry 14. However, there are several unknowns, starting with the health of Darren Helm and Mikael Samuelsson. Both missed almost all of last season, and Helm said earlier this week he isn't yet pain-free and doesn't know whether he'll be able to take part in scrimmages when camp begins in one week. Samuelsson said he's healthy, but will he stay so?

For now, Cleary will skate with the Wings at the Joe. General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press Cleary is welcome in Traverse City on a PTO. Players, meanwhile, are banking that Cleary soon will be a teammate again.

"I'm hoping he comes back," defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "I think it will happen."

Since joining the Wings on a tryout in 2005, Cleary has endeared himself in the locker room as something of a know-it-all.

"He's a one-of-a-kind," captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "Everyone knows that. He's been away for a week, went to some camp. It's going to be fun to have him back."

So confused...indecision

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Comments

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

*facepalm*

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 09/05/13 at 10:12 AM ET

@TheJimP19's avatar

This raises the question… If Cleary returns, what will happen with Tatar ?

Posted by @TheJimP19 from transplanted in Nashville on 09/05/13 at 10:30 AM ET

Zqto's avatar

I like it, he did play his hearth out last playoffs
I dont care if the team needs to carry him through the regular season, if he plays in the playoffs like he did last season

Besides, I doubt he’s gonna be expensive, cap wise

Posted by Zqto on 09/05/13 at 10:32 AM ET

@TheJimP19's avatar

I don’t know if anyone takes Tootoo off their hands, and Samuelsson I believe they are stuck with him….

Posted by @TheJimP19 from transplanted in Nashville on 09/05/13 at 10:37 AM ET

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Does she have anything to back up her assertions?  I see two quotes from players who like him and nothing from management at all, not even a hint that there’s any kind of possibility of signing him or even bringing him in on a tryout.

Besides, I doubt he’s gonna be expensive, cap wise

Even if he took league minimum there’s no cap space or roster space to fit him right now.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/13 at 11:08 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Who isn’t skating today?

Bill Roose tweet,

There are 20 #RedWings at today’s informal practice at JLA. Those missing are Alfredsson, Nyquist, Tootoo, Lashoff & Howard

.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 09/05/13 at 11:11 AM ET

Hootinani's avatar

not even a hint that there’s any kind of possibility of signing him or even bringing him in on a tryout.

You don’t think that

General manager Ken Holland told the Free Press Cleary is welcome in Traverse City on a PTO.

is enough evidence that they are willing to bring him in for a tryout?

Doesn’t mean they want to sign him, of course.  It could just be Holland doing Cleary a favor, allowing him to be showcased during exhibition so he can scrounge up a contract somewhere else.

Posted by Hootinani on 09/05/13 at 11:15 AM ET

Chris in Hockey Hell's avatar

This is a perfect example of “loyal to a fault” that we as Wings fans have talked about for so many years. I know that there’s really no proof that they’re considering bringing him back, but the fact that it keeps getting brought up leads me to believe that it’s a little bit of a “where there’s smoke, there could be fire” kind of thing. I just don’t understand it. We made him an offer once free agency started, he didn’t take it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s it for him in Detroit. At least it should be. I know he had a good playoff. I get that. But his contract was up and he didn’t re-sign. Time to move on. We have Tatar coming in. Let it be. Danny (Dan? Daniel?) was a good player for us. But it’s time for a change.

Posted by Chris in Hockey Hell from Ann Arbor, MI but LIVING in Columbia, TN on 09/05/13 at 11:17 AM ET

mrfluffy's avatar

Think Cleary would take a two-way contract?

Posted by mrfluffy from A wide spot on I-90 in Montana on 09/05/13 at 11:18 AM ET

Mandingo's avatar

This raises the question… If Cleary returns, what will happen with Tatar ?

Posted by @TheJimP19 from transplanted in Nashville on 09/05/13 at 10:30 AM ET

Please, for the love of God, tell me Tatar is out of waiver options. I cannot handle any more of this “NHL-ready” bullsh*t.

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 09/05/13 at 11:31 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Tatar is waiver eligible as of right now. Can’t be sent down.

Before you relax though…

Gustav Nyquist is two games shy of waiver eligibility. He CAN be sent down.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/05/13 at 11:41 AM ET

Avatar

is enough evidence that they are willing to bring him in for a tryout?

Fair enough, I missed that.  I was looking for a quote and only skimmed the article.

It could just be Holland doing Cleary a favor, allowing him to be showcased during exhibition so he can scrounge up a contract somewhere else.

I sincerely hope that’s the case.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s it for him in Detroit.

Exactly.

That was apparently it for Brunner when he didn’t take their offer.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/13 at 12:07 PM ET

Avatar

Before you relax though…

I’ll relax when Carolina or Calgary or anyeone signs him.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/13 at 12:11 PM ET

Savage Henry's avatar

Samuelsson said he’s healthy . . .

I’m sure he got ‘healthy’ about 15 minutes after the buyout window closed.

Posted by Savage Henry on 09/05/13 at 12:15 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Could Kenny simply be doing Cleary a solid with all this talk, knowing he won’t possibly be back in DET, so that it helps Danny get a deal/a good deal somewhere else?

You know, as a reward for being a good foot soldier?

Posted by Primis on 09/05/13 at 12:38 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Doesn’t mean they want to sign him, of course.  It could just be Holland doing Cleary a favor, allowing him to be showcased during exhibition so he can scrounge up a contract somewhere else.

Posted by Hootinani on 09/05/13 at 11:15 AM ET

Duurrrrrrrrr, missed that the first read-through.  Yeah, that.

Posted by Primis on 09/05/13 at 12:41 PM ET

Mandingo's avatar

Gustav Nyquist is two games shy of waiver eligibility. He CAN be sent down.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/05/13 at 11:41 AM ET

NOOOOO

Posted by Mandingo from The Garage on 09/05/13 at 01:28 PM ET

RW19's avatar

It really makes little sense especially since last we heard he was looking for what, 3 mil/season? They would have to move bodies and salary.

The only thing about Cleary returning that makes sense is his style of play. He can play on the third and fourth lines and he can grind it out. the Wings never seem to have enough of that. But then again, how much are you willing to pay for a third/fourth line grinder when you are already up against the cap?

Posted by RW19 on 09/05/13 at 01:36 PM ET

Avatar

This raises the question… If Cleary returns, what will happen with Tatar ?

My take is that Tatar will be traded.  I believe Tatar sealed his fate in Europe when he said,

I should be playing on first line with Pavel.

That attitude will not set well with Babcock

Guy from Tenn through Toledo.

Posted by guy on 09/05/13 at 01:43 PM ET

Avatar

Well, assuming other options are unavailable, who would you rather have, Emmerton or Cleary?  Tatar or Eaves?

Honestly, if the 14 forwards were D, Z, Weiss, Aflie, Franzen, Sammy, Bert, Abby, Miller, Nyquist, Tatar, Andersson, Cleary and Tootoo… with Helm on IR to start the year ... what’s the big problem?  Eaves and Emmerton waived?  So what?

Seems like a fairly obvious upgrade to me, especially if they can get a properly-chastened Cleary to take a 1 year 1.5 mil deal.

Hell, I’m not even sure Emmerton or Eaves would get claimed if waived, especially this early.  IIRC you don’t have to clear in both directions anymore, just when you’re initially waived.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/05/13 at 02:15 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

what’s the big problem?  Eaves and Emmerton waived?  So what?

Seems like a fairly obvious upgrade to me, especially if they can get a properly-chastened Cleary to take a 1 year 1.5 mil deal.

The big problem with that plan is the $1.7M in cap space you have to clear when Darren Helm gets healthy.

This assumes that Eaves and Emmerton get claimed. If Eaves doesn’t get claimed, you only get a portion of his cap hit eliminated, that number goes up to just under $2M worth of both cap and roster overage you’re not allowed to have if Darren Helm is medically cleared.

That’s just assuming you want to get to $0 in cap space, which is a bad idea because you can’t use LTIR without actually sitting a guy for seven days and are specifically opening yourself up to league discipline if you try to use LTIR for a guy who doesn’t actually have a long-term injury.

Gustavsson tweaks his groin in the morning skate and you don’t even want him playing as the backup that night? Tough shit; you can’t call up a guy if you have $0 cap space. You can’t even use an emergency professional tryout to fill that hole because you have to have at least the league minimum cap space to make that move.

Adding one player and eliminating two from a roster that currently has two more people on it than it should is bad math.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/05/13 at 02:43 PM ET

Primis's avatar

You have chosen to ignore comments from this member.

Still the best feature ever.

Posted by Primis on 09/05/13 at 03:49 PM ET

Avatar

Seems like a fairly obvious upgrade to me

Did you watch last season?  Cleary was an anchor for the regular season.  He would barely be an upgrade over playing short-handed.

I would take Eaves in a heartbeat over Cleary and I would take Emmerton too.

Besides which, Eaves and Emmerton (or whoever survives the cut down to 14 forwards) would be battling for a fourth line spot, so what would be the point of paying Eaves or Emmerton to play in the AHL while also paying ANOTHER guy just to be the #13 or #14 forward?

I believe Tatar sealed his fate in Europe when he said, I should be playing on first line with Pavel.

I don’t believe there is any chance in hell that they trade the Calder Cup MVP in favour of Cleary.  And I don’t believer they punish Tatar for having confidence in himself.  Who are we talking about, the Maple Leafs?

Adding one player and eliminating two from a roster that currently has two more people on it than it should is bad math.

This.  Not only do they need to trim the roster, but they need a little breathing room under the cap in case the unexpected happens and they need to use it.  There is a lot that would need to happen before they could ever seriously consider bringing Cleary back.

Nevermind the rumour that he supposedly wanted #3M a year for three years which should’ve given Ken Holland a stomach ache from laughing Cleary out of his office.

 

Posted by Garth on 09/05/13 at 03:52 PM ET

Forlorn in VA's avatar

  You have chosen to ignore comments from this member.

Still the best feature ever.

Posted by Primis on 09/05/13 at 03:49 PM ET

A-fricken-men

Posted by Forlorn in VA on 09/05/13 at 03:58 PM ET

Avatar

The big problem with that plan is the $1.7M in cap space you have to clear when Darren Helm gets healthy.

That’s then.  In this case, ‘then’ may not happen in one month or two months or this year.

Setting that aside for a moment, if/when Helm gets healthy, trade Tootoo for a bag of pucks.  Cap space cleared.

This assumes that Eaves and Emmerton get claimed. If Eaves doesn’t get claimed, you only get a portion of his cap hit eliminated

In this case ‘portion’ means 77%.  Eaves contract would go away and there would be a 275k charge against Detroit’s cap, so demoting Eaves both saves 925k and it opens a roster spot.  Demoting Emmerton saves the entirety of his contract and opens another roster spot.

That’s just assuming you want to get to $0 in cap space,

With Eaves and Emmerton waived and Helm on the IR the Wings would have 1.445 mil in cap space. 

If/when Helm returns and the team waives Tootoo, if claimed the Wings would have 1.1ish of cap space.  If unclaimed the Wings would have pretty much no space.  Less than 200k.

And, of course, this further presumes that by the time Helm is ready none of the other Wings would be ready for an IR stint.

So, sure, in this worst case scenario where neither Eaves nor Tootoo is claimed and every other forward or dman on the roster stays healthy until Helm is ready to play, and that Helm is ready to play pretty quickly and doesn’t have a setback anywhere along the line, like, say, in his conditioning stint in GR to start the year…

...yeah, in that situation where the five least beneficial things happen picking up Cleary would create a cap circumstance.

Adding one player and eliminating two from a roster that currently has two more people on it than it should is bad math.

Thinking that adding Cleary and Helm while removing Emmerton Eaves and Tootoo means you’re adding and subtracting two players is bad reading.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/05/13 at 07:32 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Thinking that adding Cleary and Helm while removing Emmerton Eaves and Tootoo means you’re adding and subtracting two players is bad reading.

Hahahaha yeah, when you go in later and add another player to eliminate… which you hadn’t done before.  How could I possibly fail to read a name you didn’t actually mention?

where the five least beneficial things happen picking up Cleary

Did… did you just say Helm being healthy would be among the “least beneficial” things to happen?

Game over, man.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/05/13 at 07:47 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Thinking that adding Cleary and Helm while removing Emmerton Eaves and Tootoo means you’re adding and subtracting two players is bad reading.

Hahahaha yeah, when you go in later and add another player to eliminate… which you hadn’t done before.  How could I possibly fail to read a name you didn’t actually mention?

where the five least beneficial things happen picking up Cleary

Did… did you just say Helm being healthy would be among the “least beneficial” things to happen?

Game over, man.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/05/13 at 07:48 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So nice, I had to say it twice…

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/05/13 at 07:48 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I like how the “let’s be a little less scrappy and more polite” thing lasted for two minutes. Oh well.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/05/13 at 08:07 PM ET

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Honestly, if the 14 forwards were D, Z, Weiss, Aflie, Franzen, Sammy, Bert, Abby, Miller, Nyquist, Tatar, Andersson, Cleary and Tootoo… with Helm on IR to start the year ... what’s the big problem?

Honestly, if the 14 forwards were D, Z, Weiss, Aflie, Franzen, Sammy, Bert, Abby, Miller, Nyquist, Tatar, Andersson, Eaves and Emmerton… with Helm on IR to start the year ... what’s the big problem?

In fact, there’s less of a problem than having Cleary because they would have to clear our more cap and roster space to fit him.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/13 at 08:19 PM ET

Avatar

I like how the “let’s be a little less scrappy and more polite” thing lasted for two minutes. Oh well.

You would probably stress out a lot less if you didn’t feel the need to be a blog parent, dude.

Posted by Garth on 09/05/13 at 08:19 PM ET

Avatar

Hahahaha yeah, when you go in later and add another player to eliminate… which you hadn’t done before. 

Because you wouldn’t need to make the Tootoo move until Helm came back, assuming Helm comes back.

There are probably roster moves Detroit will have to make three years down the road, as well.  I also didn’t include those.

Did… did you just say Helm being healthy would be among the “least beneficial” things to happen?

Yes, in the context of the cap regarding the team signing Cleary.  It’d be great if Helm came back, obviously (well, apparently not obviously since I have to explain that to you), but the reality is back injuries are notorious for both their severity and their indefinite nature.

And unless I’ve missed something Helm hasn’t skated in a single live-game situation for half a year, and we’re less than a munth away from regular season games.

So, yeah, it’d be great if Helm was back game 1 day 1… I just haven’t seen anything to indicate that’s a reasonable expectation.

I like how the “let’s be a little less scrappy and more polite” thing lasted for two minutes.

What was the impolite part you are concerned about, George?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/06/13 at 05:48 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

There are probably roster moves Detroit will have to make three years down the road, as well.  I also didn’t include those.

And I didn’t admonish you for not considering them because they’re not relevant.

Yes, in the context of the cap regarding the team signing Cleary.

That’s not what you said. You said it was one of the five least beneficial things to happen and that it not happening would allow for the team to pick up Cleary.

So, yeah, it’d be great if Helm was back game 1 day 1

it would also be great if the Wings didn’t need to count on Helm not being back for a time so they have to juggle players between LTIR and the waiver wire, especially considering there are times when that less than $200K situation is extremely likely and, like I said, you can’t just throw people on and off of LTIR (which is the only kind of IR that gives you cap benefit) to accommodate bumps and scrapes at will.

the reality is back injuries are notorious for both their severity and their indefinite nature.

I think a lot of people are pretty needlessly automatically worst-casing the Helm situation.  Do we even know who the last NHLer to have his career ended by a back injury which was never diagnosed as a structural problem is?  Multiple specialists can’t find anything specifically wrong with the back of a workout fiend who keeps tweaking an injury that’s very easy to tweak if you’re a bit of an impatient workout fiend. It’s a frustratingly slow process, but I think people are attributing more mystery to this than it deserves.

Zetterberg, Kronwall and Bertuzzi have all had persistent back issues. Bertuzzi is the only one whose injuries have caused fairly severe problems and that’s because he’s more than a decade older than Helm.

I just don’t think that counting on Helm to be persistently unhealthy as a solution to a need for roster/cap space would be a good decision. I don’t know whether Cleary would even take $1.5M, but even at that price, I don’t know that he even brings $300K more value to the table than Patrick Eaves does, where keeping him creates roughly the same solution with a tad bit more flexibility.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/06/13 at 06:05 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.