The Dan Cleary saga isn’t over. Far from it.
The 34-year-old veteran — who had signed a professional try out to attend Flyers camp — will not be joining the team, according to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman.
The saga began when Cleary, who’d spent the last eight years in Detroit, rejected the Wings’ offer of attending their camp on a PTO because he had “guaranteed contract” offers from other NHL clubs.
One of those was believed to be from Philadelphia. The Flyers reportedly offered Cleary a three-year, $8.25 million deal — one that could not be made official until the Flyers became cap compliant (which would’ve occurred when Chris Pronger was put on LTIR at the beginning of the regular season in October).
As such, it came as no surprise on Tuesday when Flyers GM Paul Holmgren told the Philadelphia Inquirer “there are no promises” for a Cleary contract.
Holmgren said Cleary was only in Philadelphia on a professional try out (PTO) for training camp, which was followed by this official word from the Flyers website…
Cleary signed a PTO with the Flyers Tuesday and will be in camp with the team Thursday. This likely means the Flyers will not bring Simon Gagne to camp on a tryout.
If the Flyers want to sign Cleary – or Gill for that matter – they’ll have to clear some cap space first, which could be on Sept. 30, when Chris Pronger is officially moved to the long-term injury list and his money comes off the salary cap.
It’s possible the Flyers got in hot water for agreeing to a “handshake deal” with Cleary prior to having the actual cap space to sign him. That remains to be seen.
A similar situation occurred in Washington a few years ago when center Eric Belanger had verbally agreed to sign with the Caps, but needed to wait until Washington cleared cap space via trade.
Once the story got out, the Belanger-to-Washington deal was scuttled and he signed with Phoenix instead.
More on this story as it develops.
According to CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio, the Flyers had no comment on the Cleary situation. Earlier, the club stated Cleary was supposed to be in attendance Wednesday, but that appearance had been pushed back to Thursday instead.
Panaccio also notes Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette said he’d spoken with both Cleary and Hal Gill, also in Philly on a PTO, about their roles in camp.
The Philly Inquirer spoke to Holmgren, who said he still expects Cleary to report to camp on Thursday.
TSN’s Aaron Ward is now reporting of a meeting on Wednesday between Cleary, Detroit GM Ken Holland and head coach Mike Babcock.