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.
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. (CSNPhilly.com’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.
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.