Cleary’s time in Detroit might not be over

DETROIT >> Dan Cleary’s time as a Detroit Red Wing might not be over.

Wings general manager Ken Holland will meet with the veteran forward about the possibility of re-signing.

“Dan Cleary is a guy that when he signed here last year for a one-year deal, we had conversations beyond one year because he had contract offers or three years from a couple of teams,” Holland said in a phone interview.

Cleary, 35, struggled last season. In 52 games he totaled four goals, four assists and had a minus-11 rating.

Cleary tried to return from a knee injury he suffered before the Olympic break, but a bad reaction to an injection that he had no side effects two times earlier made his knee inflamed.

“Dan Cleary and I have met briefly, but over the next couple weeks I’ll sit down and talk to Dan Cleary,” Holland said. “He’s coming off a real tough season. I know he’s working really hard to try and get some leg strength to give himself the best opportunity he can for a bounce back year.”

The Wings could offer him a two-way deal so they’ll have the ability to assign him to Grand Rapids if he’s unable to make the roster out of training camp.

Cleary caused quite a stir last year as tried to decide on his future.

Cleary spurned a professional tryout from the Philadelphia Flyers and wound up signing a one-year deal to return to the Wings for $1.75 million on the eve of training camp.

He also shot down a report that he was offered a three-year deal worth $2.75 million a season to join the Flyers.

Signing Cleary put the Wings three players over the roster limit and just over $2 million over the salary cap.

Cleary had rejected the Wings’ two- and three-year offers prior to the opening of free agency they moved on and signed Daniel Alfredsson (one year, $5.5 million) and Stephen Weiss (five years, $24.5 million).

The Wings’ two-year offer to Cleary was just below what the Flyers reportedly had offered. It was the addition of the third year that brought the number down even more, but all three years averaged around $2 million a season.

“People are probably thinking I’m not the smartest guy, or whatever, but I have to deal with what I feel is right for me, and I did it,” Cleary said after returning. “The whole process was tough. It’s hard for people to relate to the situation. I said it a few days ago, there’s nothing like being a Red Wing and I mean that. I love being here, I won a Stanley Cup here, I’ve got friends for life, not only the players, but guys who work in PR, trainers, coaches, I mean, the list goes on.

“I’m sorry to everybody for the drama that was created,” Cleary added. “It’s just not my style. Social media at times can be frustrating. But that’s the world we live in and I apologize to all of the writers, the Philly writers, but I’m a Red Wing and I’m proud to be a Red Wing.”


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