NHL

Cleary changes course, will play for Red Wings

09/12 10:49 AM

Dan Cleary, citing a change of heart after earlier this week agreeing to a camp tryout with the Philadelphia Flyers, instead has agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal to stay with the Detroit Red Wings, his agent confirmed.

Daniel Cleary, citing a change of heart after earlier this week agreeing to a camp tryout with the Philadelphia Flyers, instead has agreed to a one-year, $1.75 million deal to stay with the Detroit Red Wings, agent Pat Brisson confirmed Thursday.

The deal was expected to be signed later Thursday.

Flyers GM Paul Holmgren said Cleary was up front with him from the start about his desire to stay with Detroit.

"He's a character guy with deep ties to the Red Wing organization," Holmgren said Thursday. "I can't fault him for that. I had a couple of conversations with Dan leading up to even two days ago when he'd agreed to come on a tryout. I knew that he wanted to be in Detroit."

Challenged by a decreased salary cap this summer plus the offseason additions of Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson, the Red Wings weren't able to re-sign Cleary to a fair-market deal this summer even though they wanted him back.

At $1.75 million, Cleary is certainly taking less than he's worth -- he made $3 million last season -- but his hope is that a good season this year and a rising salary cap for next season will help him get a better deal.

After verbally agreeing to the Flyers' camp invite, Cleary said he began to have second thoughts. He spoke with Detroit general manager Ken Holland and coach Mike Babcock on Wednesday morning to try to find a solution. Brisson said he worked tirelessly Wednesday with Holland to make it work.

Cleary's situation is not ideal, and it was a strange couple of days after the Flyers announced his camp invite, but in the end Cleary is happy with his decision.

"Have to follow the heart," he told ESPN.com via text message as he made his way to Traverse City, Mich., to join the Red Wings' camp.


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