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Well what the f*** then? Now Pleiness reports that the Red Wings aren’t close to re-signing Cleary

Okay, so maybe we know that the front office is indeed in flux today, because we were first told that Daniel Cleary was about to re-sign with the Wings, and minutes after MLive's Brendan Savage got an answer from Ken Holland as to what the waylaid scouting staff would do to rebound from Jim Nill's extrication of its director of amateur scouting, the Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness reported that Daniel Cleary is not in fact about to be re-signed:

Detroit has not agreed with Cleary on a three-year contract that will pay him roughly $2.6 million a season.

The sticking point is the salary cap. They’d like to have Cleary back, but only if they’re able to shed some salary first.

Teams can go 10-percent over the salary cap during the offseason, but that’s something they don’t want to do.

In the meantime, Cleary is free to sign with any other team if he gets the deal he’s looking for.

I think the Wings' management is having an OH SHIT moment here...

Update: Edit edit edit, from MLive's Brendan Savage:

The Detroit Red Wings would like to have forward Daniel Cleary back, but the only way that will happen is if they can shed some salary.

The Red Wings have 22 players signed for $65 million, just over the $64.3 million salary cap. Their payroll will increase and they will have 25 players signed, two over the roster limit, once they come to terms with restricted free agents Brendan Smith, Nyquist and Andersson.
Teams can go 10 percent over the cap during the off-season but the Red Wings don't want to add a significant contract and not be able to dump salary before the season.

The Red Wings initially made Cleary a two-year offer and agreed to tack on a third year at a reduced rate. But that offer came off the table once free agency started at noon on Friday and the team signed Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss.

In the meantime, Cleary is free to sign with any team.

And, ta da:

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RWBill's avatar

That inability or lack of desire to buyout Samuelsson’s $3M hangs heavy in the room like an unwelcome fart.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/06/13 at 05:11 PM ET

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Well they could “shed some salary” by knocking a million per off the Cleary deal…

Posted by xcheck28 on 07/06/13 at 05:11 PM ET

Hank Scorpio's avatar

Boy, our issues this summer really illustrate just how bad Kenny’s game plan was last summer. I love out signings this year, but he really screwed us when he whiffed on Suter/Parise last summer.

Suter/Parise weren’t his fault, but Samuelsson, Colioacovo (sp?), and Tootoo sure are.

Posted by Hank Scorpio on 07/06/13 at 05:14 PM ET

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Yeah…what a flustercuck today is turning out to be.

Posted by CrimsonPhoenix on 07/06/13 at 05:24 PM ET

Wings_in_NYC's avatar

Why bring Cleary back at all?? You’ve got Tatar, Nyquist and Andersson coming up full time, plus Miller and Eaves are still around as is Emmerton for the 4th line. I don’t see why they need to sign him only if they shed salary. Let him walk.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/06/13 at 05:49 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Why bring Cleary back at all?? You’ve got Tatar, Nyquist and Andersson coming up full time, plus Miller and Eaves are still around as is Emmerton for the 4th line. I don’t see why they need to sign him only if they shed salary. Let him walk.

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 07/06/13 at 05:49 PM ET

Because Uncle Mike wants him.  I can find no other explanation.  Holland’s filling a roster based on what Uncle Mike needs to be able to win the Cup.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/06/13 at 05:56 PM ET

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As far as I remember the Red Wings went all-out for Suter, not Parise. That those two colluded is a side issue. But that’s neither here nor there.

I’d also have liked to buy out Sammy. The problem, though, is he wasn’t healthy and buying him out may very well have ended up in a grievance being filed. As an organization the Wings don’t need that. The guess (rather, sincere hope) is they stick him on long-term IR a la Chris Pronger.

Posted by wingsfan1983 on 07/06/13 at 05:57 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I think the Wings’ management is having an OH SHIT moment here…

Well, if they are, they’re about three hours behind the rest of us.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/06/13 at 06:20 PM ET

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Let him go.  Please.  Just let him f*cking go.

There’s no space for him, and they still need to re-sign their RFAs.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/13 at 06:42 PM ET

wedge56's avatar

Can’t buy out Sammy because he is claiming he is still injured.  Docs have cleared him, but he is claiming injury and you cannot buy out a player due to injury.  May Sammy burn in hell.

Posted by wedge56 on 07/06/13 at 06:56 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

I’m convinced they had and have a plan to clear the roster of the glut of forwards.

I convinced myself of that.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/06/13 at 07:35 PM ET

Chet's avatar

can we get an advanced stats look at cleary? his numbers were down, he was then pretty good in the playoffs, but over the season what’d he look like? to me he just seemed slow and out of sorts most of the time.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/06/13 at 07:56 PM ET

SK77's avatar

After the last two seasons Cleary is starting to remind me a little bit too much of Old Yeller.

Doesn’t mean it wasn’t the best book I ever read about a kid shooting his dog ... I’m just sayin’.

Posted by SK77 on 07/06/13 at 08:04 PM ET

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I can’t wait till they end up having to send Tatar down to GR because they re-sign Danny Boy and can’t unload enough contracts.  Because who needs a young, speedy, versatile, offensively gifted winger making your third line all the more dangerous when you can have a degenerating, broken bodied albatross on the roster (for three more motherf*cking years under the misguided hope that he’s going to be a Conn Smythe candidate in the playoffs?

Holland is determined to take a step back after a couple steps forward, huh?

Posted by Garth on 07/06/13 at 08:12 PM ET

Chet's avatar

and yikes, of his 9 goals this past season, 5 were PP and one was a SH that i think he tapped in after someone else’s breakaway. $2.6M per is *#$%@&’ nuts.

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/06/13 at 08:15 PM ET

Chet's avatar

no, i take that back, 13 set him up alone while he was floating in the slot.

how could this management team have shied away from lecavalier because of his “pace,”  even at twice the cap hit, but be thinking about three more years of cleary?

Posted by Chet from twitter: thegansen on 07/06/13 at 08:18 PM ET

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As someone who’s had knee surgery and could probably afford another trip under the knife (thanks, high school football!) I understand the concerns with Cleary far better than most. An incoming storm provides me enough discomfort to the point of relegating me useless; that Cleary’s able to skate at all is little short of a miracle for me.

On the other hand, what other options would you propose? Let’s imagine a hypothetical situation where Eaves (and possibly also Tootoo and/or Emmerton) is moved and one of Sammy or Bert is placed on LTIR, freeing up the roster spot for Buckets. Who else on the roster is going to win board battles with consistency? Who else is going to provide grit and play tough in the dirty areas? Yeah, Abdelkader does lots of that stuff on the top line for Pasha. But is having Cleary available to forecheck on the fourth, occasionally slide up to the second or third, be there to spell Tatar (who will likely go into some kind of funk/drought during the season), and sit in the press box as a healthy scratch every other night such a bad thing?

Making it work with the roster crunch (eg, don’t forsake the future core of Goose, Tatar, Jurco, Andy, Jarnkrok, Smith, Dekeyser, etc.) Danny Cleary can be a valuable asset to this team. He still provides lots of stuff other guys can’t or won’t.  If Tuzzi showed some more willingness to bang down low (and also showed any kind of commitment to staying onside) or if Sheahan can come up and prove an ability to provide some physicality to the bottom six, by all means let Cleary go. Beyond that re-signing the guy who will be getting knee replacements in about five years is hardly a step back.

Posted by wingsfan1983 on 07/06/13 at 08:29 PM ET

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On the other hand, what other options would you propose?

Very simple: just don’t sign him.

there to spell Tatar (who will likely go into some kind of funk/drought during the season

What?  Basis, please?

Danny Cleary can be a valuable asset to this team

Respectfully disagree.  There is not, in my opinion, a single forward currently under contract or waiting to be re-signed as an RFA for whom Cleary would be an upgrade.  And hell, having him under contract while allowing Brunner to walk would, in itself, be a bad, bad decision.

Jesus…three years?  Insanity.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/13 at 08:38 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

But is having Cleary available to forecheck on the fourth, occasionally slide up to the second or third, be there to spell Tatar (who will likely go into some kind of funk/drought during the season), and sit in the press box as a healthy scratch every other night such a bad thing?

Tatar shouldn’t see the normal rookie reactions to a long season (Ala Brunner) and hit “the wall” because he’s been playing in the AHL and, thus, racking up 70+ game seasons since ‘10.  There’s no reason to assume he’ll do any different than Andersson; who at worst can be described as gaining steam late.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 07/06/13 at 08:56 PM ET

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Plus, honestly, Miller is a younger, healthier, simply better version of Cleary.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/13 at 08:58 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

One has to assume the reason Cleary started playing better during the playoffs is because he finally got some strength back in that knee he had surgery on.  They say it takes an entire year to really recover from just about any kind of knee surgery and, like wingsfan1983 said, it was a minor miracle he was on skates to begin with.  If he’s as healthy as he claims to be and stays healthy then yes, Cleary can and will be useful to the team in many ways.

It’s funny really.  We’re sitting hear arguing about who to keep and why as opposed to who we should get to help improve the team.  It’s nice to have too much talent ... something about 18 other teams in the league wish they could do.

The only person that would make it an ‘oh $hit’ moment is Cleary.  If he wants to be a Red Wing then he’ll be a man and wait for Holland to make a roster spot for him.  Lets just hope the price isn’t too high.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 07/06/13 at 09:12 PM ET

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My question was, what other option is there for grit in the bottom six? Who else is going to dig out pucks and get to the dirty areas? I just don’t see that guy on the roster right now. It’s for this reason, too, I don’t think we can draw out a comparison to Brunner. They’re both role players, albeit vastly different. Ostensibly Tatar and a more seasoned Nyquist (producing at a higher clip) replace what’s lost in Brunner. But again, grit isn’t replaced with those two.

Per my suggestion Tatar will have a slump of some sort, I concede I don’t have any real basis for that claim. Am I too far out of bounds to assume a rookie will run into a dry spell at some point? I don’t think so, but that’s just my opinion. Will there be games, though, where a Cleary-like player will provide a better matchup than Tatar on a third line (along with Andy and Goose)? I think so.

Three years? Not optimal. Am I completely sold on Cleary coming back? No. I’m just trying to move away from the assumption that his return portends some sort of doom and gloom or the onset of Ken Holland’s descent into psychosis. If there’s a Cleary-like player with better health in the system or available on the cheap as a UFA, sign him up.

Posted by wingsfan1983 on 07/06/13 at 09:20 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

If we’re thinking Cleary has been slow, let’s just wait until the final year or two of his three year contract.

He’s going to owe Babcock a hot fudge sundae for this.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 07/06/13 at 09:26 PM ET

Tracy from T-Town Hockey 's avatar

I agree they want to keep Cleary because he does bring something to the game others on the roster do not IF HEALTHY enough.  That is what concerns me.  I don’t think anyone will truly know the answer to his health untill next season.  I say we could gamble on him for 2 years max but no longer.  Seems like term is the main sticking point in negotiations with him.  sounds like Kenny doesn’t like more than 2 years either.

Posted by Tracy from T-Town Hockey on 07/06/13 at 09:28 PM ET

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Am I too far out of bounds to assume a rookie will run into a dry spell at some point?

Kinda, yeah.

He played in 109 games this year.  There’s no reason to believe he is going to have a hard time playing an 82 game NHL season.  Not every rookie slumps in his rookie year.

Will there be games, though, where a Cleary-like player will provide a better matchup than Tatar on a third line (along with Andy and Goose)?

A “Cleary-like player”, sure.  Like, maybe Dan Cleary from five years ago.  But I wouldn’t choose Dan Cleary of last year over anyone currently under contract, or any RFA pending renewal.  And I certainly wouldn’t choose him over Tatar.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/13 at 09:45 PM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I’ll be sad to see him go, but I’d understand why.  Heart and soul guy.

I really have no f’ing clue who I would like to keep on the least, they all could rise to the occasion.  Good guys the lot of them, if healthy, and boy ain’t that the question right now?

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 07/06/13 at 10:13 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Doesn’t mean it wasn’t the best book I ever read about a kid shooting his dog ... I’m just sayin’.

Posted by some kid on 07/06/13 at 08:04 PM ET

The sad thing is, it’s not the only one.  IIRC that’s (SPOILER ALERT) how Sounder ends as well.

We make our kids read some messed-up stuff in school.  I’m just sayin’...


*sigh*  Here’s the problem with Cleary/Brunner.  When it takes this long to get it done, given their respective situations, you question if they really want to be here in DET.  And if you’re even questioning it… it’s probably time to cut and run.

Neither Cleary or Brunner exactly have a ton of leverage.  Brunner has a half season of data, Cleary has a season where it looked as though he couldn’t skate anymore.

Posted by Primis on 07/06/13 at 10:29 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I can’t wait till they end up having to send Tatar down to GR because they re-sign Danny Boy and can’t unload enough contracts.

Posted by Garth on 07/06/13 at 08:12 PM ET

You’re far too knowledgeable to make that statement, Garth. You have to kow Tatar is out of options, and any attempt to send him down to the Griffins would be met with a vulture-tree full of teams waiting to claim him.

So, Tomas isn’t going anywhere – unless he’s traded. And as much as I’d hate to see that, he and Eaves may very well join Tootoo on the bus out of town if Cleary is resigned. If that results in a Top 3 defenseman, so be it. But anything less than that would be a disaster for the Wings.

What confuses me the most about all of this is the talk about the contract being for three fricking years. Cleary’s body simply won’t last that long. The only saving grace in that deal would be that he’s only 34. So if he had to retire, his salary wouldn’t stay on the books.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/06/13 at 11:37 PM ET

statelouis26's avatar

I’m elated that the majority here follow logic as opposed to KH on this Cleary stuff. Please by the old gods and the new let him go Kenny. I actually believe Brunner provided a greater moral boost to the team and propel the team further in the playoffs than crazy eyes Cleary ever could. His happy go lucky seemed rub off on the team in spite of hard-nosed mike (maybe that’s why he won’t be back) and rejuvenate the guys. I’m never one to usually buy into this sorta thing. He also scored 3x as much as Dan. 3-3.5 is not unreasonable for 2 years provided his defense improves. Let the free Sammy shirts get printed sooner rather than later too.

Posted by statelouis26 from Detroit, MI on 07/07/13 at 12:48 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Let’s repeat again: St. James tweeted earlier (and George noted earlier Saturday) that BABCOCK wants Cleary. That doesn’t mean that Holland disagrees, but if St. James is accurate, for once, at least put some of the blame on Babcock.

From earlier: http://kuklaskorner.com/tmr/comments/st.-james-provides-an-update-regarding-red-wings-roster-situation

“Also:

  Getting some tweets why Red Wings want Daniel Cleary back. Here’s one big reason: Mike Babcock loves him.
  — Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) July 6, 2013”

Here’s one guess. Remember Babcock complaining or “pointing out” (depending on your perspective) in the spring that the eventual free agent signings at least last season (if not implying earlier seasons) weren’t helping him much? He basically said they get the maximum out of the talent they had, and needed to improve roster wise.

My hunch is Holland is making a bigger effort to get what Babcock wants, and Cleary is part of that. This doesn’t excuse Holland’s other moves, but maybe it’s not on Holland this time,....

Posted by Bugsy on 07/07/13 at 01:10 AM ET

Primis's avatar

You’re far too knowledgeable to make that statement, Garth. You have to kow Tatar is out of options, and any attempt to send him down to the Griffins would be met with a vulture-tree full of teams waiting to claim him.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 07/06/13 at 11:37 PM ET

And you’re too knowledgable to not remember that this is exactly how Detroit lost Kyle Quincey originally to LA.  He was out of options, Kenny couldn’t manage a trade, and boom… waivers… plucked, just like everyone knew he would be.  So it’s not like DET hasn’t screwed up and needlessly lost someone to waivers before because of a logjam on the roster.

Not saying DET will or would with Tatar, but to say it’s impossible, or that DET would “never let it happen”... is ignoring history.

Posted by Primis on 07/07/13 at 01:43 AM ET

Hank Scorpio's avatar

If Holland lets Tatar go on waivers, he’s a bigger fool than any of us would ever imagine. At the time he let Quincy go on waivers, Quincy was a young #7 defenseman and most of us imagined that he might one day develop into a #4 or #5 defenseman, nothing more (though I think that has proven true). It was a coin toss with him and Meech. Obviously, time has proven that choice wrong. 

There is no way on god’s green earth that Holland is going to let the AHL playoff MVP go on waivers. He may trade him (and I hope he doesn’t), but he won’t lose him for free.  There’s a market for Tatar, make no mistake.

Frankly, I’d rather he let Quincy go on waivers again than let Tatar walk.

Posted by Hank Scorpio on 07/07/13 at 02:09 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

Tatar will be a top 6 either this year or next year. Where he plays is to be seen, but he’s for real.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 07/07/13 at 02:25 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Earlier, didn’t mean to say St. James was never accurate, but threw in an extra comma accidentally. Point was that the pursuit of Cleary may be Babcock’s drive, not Holland’s, on this one.

Re: Tatar, I could see them giving up Emmerton for a 7th round pick (likely better) before they would take that risk w/Tatar. Nothing’s impossible, but with such a tight salary cap, some club could look at Emmerton as a cheap forward/center for a fourth line. If near the end of training camp, it looks like Helm/Samuelsson/Bertuzzi (at least 1 if not 2 of the 3) look healthy and no major injuries arise in the forwards, then Emmerton I would think is attractive trade bait. Past that, they might be able to figure something else out.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was Meech’s ability to also be a forward that influenced them keeping Meech.
http://redwingscorner.blogspot.com/2008/12/meech-sits-while-quincey-blossoms.html

Posted by Bugsy on 07/07/13 at 02:26 AM ET

Hank Scorpio's avatar

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was Meech’s ability to also be a forward that influenced them keeping Meech.

Absolutely, that was part of it.  And, in Holland and Babcock’s defense, there was stretch of about 5 - 10 games in 2008 where Meech played like an absolute stud on the blueline. If memory serves, everyone was injured at that time. I don’t recall anything else about his tenure that stood out, however.

Posted by Hank Scorpio on 07/07/13 at 02:48 AM ET

Slumpy's avatar

Big fan of Danny boy postseason play but his regular season is worth a one year contract no more for cheap.
Wings need to toughen up by signing a Ryan Smith or Latrendresse. Not much else left in free agency that has toughness.

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 07/07/13 at 02:53 AM ET

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Mr. Scorpio hit the nail on the head re: Quincey. The organization was never as high on him as they are Tatar today. My hunch (good ole’ rhetorical crutch that absolves me of having hard evidence! And for what it’s worth I’m sort of echoing Bugsy) is they’re waiting to see how Danger does w/the prospects. If his back holds up fine, they begin the process of shopping Emmerton for a mid-round pick and becomes one of the contracts moved to free up a spot for Cleary. If not, he remains an insurance policy as a PK forward and 4th line centerman.

Sadly I think Eaves’ days are numbered. Possibly also Tootoo’s.

To Garth’s point that Miller is a younger Cleary, I humbly disagree. Miller plays with a size and heaviness above his weight class (and I’m beyond ecstatic he took a hometown discount to skate on the fourth and kill penalties), but at the end of the day Buckets is thirty pounds heavier and, by and large, plays above his weight class, too. This is why I keep harping on the need for the physicality Cleary would bring to the bottom six. The only other forwards who have that are Tootoo (who, if he sticks, will probably get season passes to the Leino Lounge) and Abd ul-Qadr, who is the enforcer-type that Datsyuk’s going to need (especially after Chicago showed the way to slow Pasha down is to commit misdemeanor assault and pray the refs don’t call it. Cf Marian Hossa tackling him on Chicago’s PP goal in game 5).

Also, Bugsy, I have a mind to block you. Please don’t ever, ever, ever remind us again of Meech.

Posted by wingsfan1983 on 07/07/13 at 03:00 AM ET

Bugsy's avatar

Also, Bugsy, I have a mind to block you. Please don’t ever, ever, ever remind us again of Meech.

But Dad, Scorpio started it!
I have no love for Meech, Scorpio brought up Meech, I responded, If you want to say I shouldn’t have continued the discussion and drawn up bad memories, that I can understand. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a horrible, sometimes lifetime illness wink

Posted by Bugsy on 07/07/13 at 03:08 AM ET

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Oh man, just thinking back to playing NHL ‘11 (or was it ‘10? Hell if I remember) on my brother’s xbox during a visit. I thought I had erased the vision of Meech’s mug from my mind, but it turns out I hadn’t. Ugh… Next thing I know you’ll do something crazy like bring up Lebda. At least in that case we can tell jokes about the contract Toronto signed him to. smile

Posted by wingsfan1983 on 07/07/13 at 03:12 AM ET

Hippy Dave's avatar

I will say if its Clears or the guy who just won the Calder Cup MVP, well that’s a no-brainer.  I more see Eaves/Bertuzzi/Sammy/Cleary on the bubble than him.  Hate to see Bert or Clears go but at some point you have to make room for the kids, and all those guys can get a payday somewhere.

Posted by Hippy Dave from Portland by way of Detroit on 07/07/13 at 03:50 AM 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.