Report: Flyers sign Cleary for three years, $8.25M


Earlier this week, it seemed like Dan Cleary would need to ace a professional tryout to land an NHL gig. Now he’s another bullet point in Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren’s list of baffling personnel moves.

Potential terms

At least, he is if a report from the Detroit Free Press’ Helene St. James is true. According to James, the Flyers handed Cleary a stunning three-year, $8.25 million ($2.75 million per year) contract on Monday. (’s Tim Panaccio confirmed it.)

Oh yeah, that deal also includes a no-trade clause.

St. James points out that earlier on Monday, Cleary said that “there’s nothing like being a Red Wing” while adorned in a Detroit Tigers hat. Apparently being handsomely paid by the Flyers is a close second, then.

Cap concerns

Technically, the signing won’t be official until the end of this month, St. James reports. That makes sense since the Flyers are technically about $2 million above the salary cap ceiling before Cleary’s $2.75 million annual cap hit registers.

It’s worth noting that Chris Pronger’s $4.94 million cap hit will be placed on the long-term injured reserve, so Philly might be able to squeeze right under the cut-off point even with Cleary’s meaty new deal. (Cap Geek lists 10 defensemen on their roster right now, so finding wiggle room shouldn’t be too daunting.)

Pros and cons

Even so, this decision will inspire plenty of critics. Cleary managed 15 points in 48 games last season, and at 34, his best days are likely behind him.

On the bright side, he’s not 35 yet, so this contract is at least marginally easier to get rid of if need be. The winger’s proponents will point to his experience (121 career playoff games) and nice production in the 2013 playoffs (10 points in 14 games) as some of his best qualities.

Again, whatever you’d say about the Flyers, they’re rarely bland.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks