After all the talk about wanting more money, Daniel Cleary decided to stay a Detroit Red Wing by signing a one-year deal worth $1.75 million on Thursday, September 12th.
It’s been a long offseason for Cleary. In early July he was offered a three-year contract with the Red Wings but he turned it down asking for more money. The Wings responded by going out and signing Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss.
Then, about a week ago, Cleary had another three-year offer on the table this time from the Philadelphia Flyers worth $8.25 million. It was the type of contract he had been holding out for all offseason. But what did he do? Cleary did a 180 degree turn and signed this deal with the Red Wings.
“I just followed my heart and did what I thought would make me happy…and I’m proud to be a Red Wing,” Cleary told reporters after the breaking news had surfaced.
The signing of Cleary puts the Red Wings in a tough spot as they are now three players over the roster limit and $2.4 million over the salary cap. The organization will have until October to sort these two problems out. But, in the meantime, here are few possible solutions that could take place in order to solve their dilemma.
The first logical move would be to put Daren Helm on the injured reserve list to start the season. As much as Helm wants to be on the ice to start the season, there is no need to rush his return, especially with the abundance of forwards fighting for playing time.
Next, the Red Wings have two options. If they want to keep everyone in the organization, then they could send Gustav Nyquist and Danny DeKeyser back to the Grand Rapids Griffins without losing them through waivers. This should be a valid option for DeKeyser as the Wings would still have 7 defensemen without him. But there is no way Nyquist gets sent down, he is just too talented not to make the roster.
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That leaves one more roster spot that needs to be cleared (or two if DeKeyser stays up). The second half of this option would be to orchestrating a trade. It’s unlikely, but stranger things have happened; seeing Alfredsson in a Red Wings’ jersey still baffles me.
Popular candidates look to be Jordin Tootoo, Patrick Eaves, Mikael Samuelsson, or Drew Miller. These players don’t add much value to opposing teams making it rather hard to trade any of them away.
But it’s the preferred option, as stated by Ken Holland, “We’d like to move somebody. We have to move somebody. Let’s see what goes on the next three weeks…Let’s see where we’re at health-wise and the competitiveness out there.”
This leads me into their last-resort action if a trade can’t be made. Tootoo and/or Eaves will have to be waived. Both are veteran grinders and have clearly lost their roles now that Cleary is a part of the team.
Regardless, the Detroit Red Wings have some work to do as training camp gets into full swing this week.