On Tuesday we had an article on the signing of Dan Cleary by the Flyers. It was reported by multiple sources that Cleary had agreed to a 3 year deal worth $8.25million, but the deal wouldn’t be official for a month. Because the Flyers were over the salary cap, they couldn’t actually sign Cleary until Chris Pronger would be moved to LTIR.
Dan Cleary was included on the list of players who were scheduled to skate Thursday morning at the beginning of training camp. Cleary had agreed to PTO with the Flyers and he was expected to join the team for camp, however, Thursday came and Cleary never showed. Apparently Wednesday night Cleary came to a deal to return to the Detroit Red Wings.
“I heard from Dan’s agent late last night that he had just decided to stay with Detroit…I think they, at the end, from what I understand, had offered him a contract and he was open to accept that, and that’s the reason he’s not here on a tryout.” Paul Holmgren said about Cleary’s absence.
Cleary’s Detroit deal is for 1 year at $1.75 million. Wednesday night while Cleary was writing up a new deal with Detroit, Holmgren still expected Cleary to show up for his PTO. Over the weekend and early this week, while rumors about Cleary’s move were being spread around, there were also counters that insisted that Cleary was determined to stay in Detroit.
Holmgren even made a statement that he has more respect for Cleary now, for sticking with Detroit:
“I don’t know what happened there, I can’t speak to that,” Holmgren said, “but I got a voicemail message from him this morning, and a text message. One of the things that makes him a good player is he’s a character guy and obviously he had deep roots to the Red Wings organization, and I can’t fault him for that. Actually, I probably think more highly of him now than I did two days ago.”
That’s a sentiment that Holmgren could recognize in Flyers veteran Simon Gagne, who now sits without a contract. Before the news of Cleary, Gagne had a shot at the 3rd line winger spot, but when interest in Cleary was announced, Gagne got shut out of the team. Holmgren talked about possible players to fill the wing position dropping young names like McGinn, Laughton and Raffl, but not Gagne. When asked about Gagne, Holmgren had this to say:
“We kind of closed that off there a few days ago when we decided to make the commitment to Dan on a tryout, I think right now we’ll probably just stick with who we got.”
In a French interview with lapresse.ca, Gagne talked about the unexpected news that he wouldn’t be asked to rejoin the Flyers.
“All summer long, the Philadelphia Flyers led us to believe that they wanted to offer me a new contract, and I even told my agent Robert Sauvé not to negotiate with another team. We trusted them. We put all our eggs in one basket, and we got played. We never expected it to come to this. When I heard that the Flyers had signed a deal with Dan Cleary, it was like a slap in the face. I’m disappointed. I knew hockey was a business, but with all the positive talks we had with CEO Paul Holmgren, it’s hard to believe that I won’t be returning to them.”
It’s disappointing, but that’s the way the Flyers work. It always seems like the most loyal get the shaft. Neither of the veterans will be joining the Flyers line up, which does offer the younger players much needed experience. When Cleary’s deal was announced it was a concern that some of the younger players would be unnecessarily held down for 3 years. Now a spot is open and it’s a race between Tye McGinn, Scott Laughton, and Michael Raffl, the favorites to move into the Flyers 3rd line, to see who will make the roster.