Dan Cleary Signs 1-Year Contract

The Detroit Red Wings have signed soon-to-be 37-year-old forward Dan Cleary to a one-year contract, the team announced on Friday.

The deal is worth $950,000, according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com.

The price isn’t surprising. With the rise in minimum salary this season bringing the minimum player salary in the NHL to $575,000, that means that Cleary’s contract is for the maximum amount the Red Wings are able to bury in the AHL. (Teams are able to bury the league minimum salary plus $375,000 annually, according to General Fanager.)

That should give you some idea of the team’s intentions with Cleary. They now have one player too many on the roster, are over the salary cap and there’s the ongoing talk about Cleary’s handshake agreement with the team to have the money he walked away from in Philadelphia made up to him, at least in part.

That last piece may require a little explaining.

Cleary walked away from a lot of money in Philadelphia in order to play for the Wings, and there’s a handshake agreement with GM Ken Holland saying that the Red Wings would make some of that lost money up to him.

Information on this agreement is based on reporting from Helene St. James, who explained the situation back in July:

There’s also still the Daniel Cleary situation to resolve. When he was brought back, at former coach Mike Babcock’s insistence, in 2013, it was with the understanding that the Wings would make good on some — not all — of the money that Cleary left on the table when he didn’t accept the Philadelphia Flyers’ offer ($8.25 million over three years). The Wings might end up re-signing Cleary for one last year, but even if that happens, general manager Ken Holland has told Cleary that he won’t make the NHL squad. If Cleary gets the same $1.5-million contract he had last season, the Wings would get [$950,000] in salary cap relief by sending Cleary to the minors.

While the deal is smaller than predicted back in July, she noted that situation again yesterday. Signing him for an amount that can be buried helps Holland make good on the promise. (Winging It in Motown did a nice job of explaining why this situation is a little silly.)

Over the last two seasons, Cleary has played 69 games, scoring five goals and five assists over that span. In his 10 seasons with Detroit he’s posted at least 20 goals three times. He’s a veteran of 17 NHL seasons, playing 938 NHL games with 165 goals and 222 assists.

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