He wants to stay with Red Wings, but how long can he wait?
After eight seasons with the Detroit Red Wings, the team with which he resurrected his NHL career and won a Stanley Cup, it’s clear Daniel Cleary is having a hard time walking away from the winged wheel.
© File photo by Dave Reginek/Detroit Red Wings
Daniel Cleary had expected, that by the end of the weekend, he’d to have his mind made up about where he would be playing hockey this winter. But Cleary told The Telegram Sunday evening that he “still needed time to think” about a decision that could possibly see him leave Detroit, where he’s played for the Red Wings the last eight seasons.
After a self-imposed Sunday deadline to figure out to which training camp he will be headed to this week, Cleary said in a text message to The Telegram last evening he’s still not certain which way to turn.
The 34-year-old Riverhead, Harbour Grace product is an unrestricted free agent, and has made it abundantly clear his preference is a return to Detroit.
The Red Wings have also expressed a desire to resign Cleary — he was their second-leading scorer in the playoffs, and led Detroit with five points in the second-round series against Chicago — but the problem is the team has 16 players under contract, and plan to carry 14.
“This is a crazy today,” Cleary said via text.
“I need some time to think here.”
Cleary said at an informal skate at Joe Louis Arena Friday he has had multiple offers from other teams, noting again his first preference is Detroit.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland has indicated Cleary is welcomed to attend the Red Wings’ training camp in Traverse City, Mich., but the player said Friday, “if I go to Traverse City, it’s not going to be on a tryout like I did eight years ago.”
Cleary was seventh in team scoring (nine goals, six assists) during the 2012-13 regular season. He’s scored 119 goals during his 540 games in Detroit, or an average of 18 goals per 82-game season with a plus-24 rating playing against the opposing team’s top forwards.
From 2006-07 to 2008-09, when he registered 40, 42 and 40 points, Cleary was regarded as one of the NHL’s top two-way forwards, a player whop was invited to the 2010 Canadian Olympic team’s summer evaluation camp.