37-Year-Old Left Wing – Free Agent
Dan Cleary Contract Information:
Signed a one-year (one-way), $950,000 contract with the Red Wings in September 2015.
Cleary will not report to the minors, MLive.com reports.
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Dan Cleary: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
There was no outlook written for Dan Cleary.
Cleary never really got going in 2013-14, scoring only eight points in 52 games. Coach Mike Babcock has stated he expects for a lot more from the veteran in the fall, as he was a non-factor even when he was getting major minutes. He has the potential for 30-40 points, but he needs to get his head back to where it was a few years ago.
Cleary played with torn cartilage in his left knee throughout last season before undergoing surgery in April to repair the injury. Not surprisingly, the 33 points he delivered were the lowest total of his career since 2005-06. With the summer to recover, Cleary should open training camp back at 100 percent with an opportunity to compete for a spot on one of the team's scoring lines. Even if he falls short, Cleary would be placed on a productive checking line centered by Darren Helm and could still push back into the 40-point range. Now 33, Cleary is a free agent at season's end and will be looking to secure a multi-year deal with the Wings by proving he's healthy again just one campaign removed from potting 26 goals for the Wings in 2010-11.
Cleary has evolved from scrapheap checking-line contributor to potential top-six forward and wing man to Pavel Datsyuk during his time in Detroit. Head coach Mike Babcock loves the physical presence Cleary can bring to his scoring lines, which includes a willingness to dig pucks out of the boards and crash the net. As Tomas Holmstrom's role continues to erode, the opportunity for Cleary to build off of last season's career-high 46 points will only grow. Keep an eye on the Wings' power-play plans for him during training camp, as added time with the man advantage would give him a nice boost in value.
Cleary picked up just 34 points in 64 games last season, his lowest total since becoming a Red Wing. Throughout the season, he was hampered by knee pain (two tears in his left meniscus), a separated shoulder, and a groin injury. A return to the 40-45 point range seems likely if he's able to stay healthy this time around. In fact, an increase beyond that isn't out of the question as the Wings will continue to look for secondary scoring a full season after the departure of Marian Hossa and company through free agency. At press time, his recovery from knee surgery is going well and Cleary should be ready for the start of training camp.
Cleary has been a consistent 40-point threat in each of his three seasons with Detroit, reaching the 20-goal plateau twice during that span. In deeper leagues, that production can be useful, but he doesn't spend much time in the penalty box or on the power play, meaning that he is a more valuable asset to the Red Wings than he is to fantasy owners. He only tickled the twine 14 times last season, but a rebound to the 20-goal mark is within reach as Detroit looks to account for missing goals following the loss of Marian Hossa, Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Hudler. He stepped up in the playoffs last season with 15 points (9 G, 6 A) in 23 games, but we'd be surprised if he pushed beyond the 50-point mark this season.
Cleary enjoyed his second consecutive 20-goal campaign with the Red Wings in 2007-08, racking up 42 points in 63 contests. The emergence of Johan Franzen and the addition of Marian Hossa will hurt his chances at playing with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, while also reducing his time spent on the power-play units. Now that he's going to skate mostly on the third line, Clearly is less of an upside play and he'll match last season's production in a best-case scenario. Consider Clearly as a great role player, worthy of a pickup if injuries create space for him among the top-six forwards.
He had a fast scoring start in 2006-07 when just about everything fell in for him, but Cleary's second half was a regression to the mean. This is a blue-collar guy, not a star or a big scorer by any means. In most pools, that means you pass.
It's hard to believe he was once a first-round pick and a highly-touted scoring prospect, but forget all that for the moment. The Red Wings have gotten Cleary to buy into making it as a grinder, and with that he'll probably see regular action as a third or fourth liner. You might see 10-15 odd goals go in, maybe a shorthander or two, but he's not going to get a chance to play with the big kids unless a bunch of players go down in front of him.
Is Cleary going to magically find his lost talent with the Red Wings in the fall of September 2005? We'll let you know if something happens, but until you hear from us, Cleary isn't someone you need to have ranked.