Author: Mike Halford

Daniel Cleary

Detroit waives Cleary


Dan Cleary‘s time as a Red Wing could soon be over.

Detroit placed the veteran forward on waivers Wednesday afternoon, per TSN. The move comes after Cleary signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $950,000 just weeks before training camp, then proceeded to play in four of Detroit’s exhibition contests, scoring two points.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens now.

At 36, Cleary doesn’t have much left in the tank and is coming off a year in which he played just 17 games. But as we noted back in the summer, this seems to all be part of a larger plan.

From the Free Press:

A situation that bears the handprint of former coach Mike Babcock has put the Wings in the position of being honor-bound to keep Cleary, 36, aboard, even as he is coming off a season that saw him play just 17 games, producing two points.

This debacle began two years ago. The Wings had offered Cleary a three-year, $6.25-million contract before he became unrestricted July 1. He declined. The Wings then signed Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, leaving little space under the salary cap. Then Cleary didn’t sign with anyone. September rolled around. The Flyers offered Cleary a three-year deal for $8.25 million, but Cleary then decided he wanted to stay in Detroit.

He ended up flying to Traverse City, where the Wings already had begun training camp. He met in a hangar with Holland and Babcock. Holland pointed to a near maxed-out budget. Babcock pushed hard for Cleary to be signed. What resulted was a one-year, $1.75-million deal with the understanding the Wings would take into consideration what Cleary left on the Flyers table.

After playing out that $1.75 million deal, Cleary re-signed in Detroit last summer to a one-year, $1.5 million pact — so, essentially, the Wings are now in final year of an unspoken three-year agreement that’s (sorta) aimed at repaying what got left on the table in Philly.

Got all that?

If Cleary gets through waivers, the Wings could send him to AHL Grand Rapids. Since he signed a one-way deal, he’d get his money regardless.

There’s also the option of Babcock and the Leafs claiming Cleary off waivers — a scenario that, as unlikely as it sounds, has already made the rounds on social media.

Another Sabre hurt: Gionta (lower body) day-to-day


On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.

Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.

The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.

There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.

Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.

‘Canes name Faulk alternate captain

Justin Faulk
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Justin Faulk got himself a sweater letter.

On Wednesday, Carolina announced that Faulk would serve as an alternate captain this season, joining a leadership group that includes captain Eric Staal and fellow alternate Jordan Staal.

“Justin has emerged as an All-Star player in this league and a leader in our dressing room,” head coach Bill Peters said in a release. “His leadership is on display every day in his commitment to his teammates, and carries through to his dedication to the organization and our community.”

Faulk, 23, is a franchise cornerstone. As Peters mentioned, he made his first All-Star Game in ’14-15, which came on the heels of being named to the U.S. Olympic team at the Winter Games in Sochi.

Last year, Faulk emerged as one of the most durable and active d-men in the league, averaging 24:25 TOI while appearing in all 82 games. He also established career highs in goals (15) and points (49).

It’s possible today’s announcement could pave the way for Faulk to eventually become Carolina’s captain. Eric Staal is in the final year of his contract and while Jordan is locked in long-term (through 2023), he’s been something of a disappointment since coming over from Pittsburgh.

Faulk is under contract through 2020.