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Flyers not surprised Cleary staying with Red Wings

by Adam Kimelman /

PHILADELPHIA -- Daniel Cleary had an invitation in hand from the Philadelphia Flyers to attend their training camp, but instead he'll be staying in a place he never wanted to leave.

Cleary on Thursday signed a one-year contract to remain with the Detroit Red Wings. Terms of the deal were not released, but the Detroit Free Press reported the value to be $1.75 million.

"We think we're a better team with [Cleary]," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland told "He's versatile on the wing, he's good in the locker room. In the end, he flew up [Wednesday] to meet with [coach Mike Babcock] and I at the airport [in Traverse City, Mich.] and his message was he wanted to be a Red Wing and he wanted to work with us."

Cleary had accepted a professional tryout offer from the Flyers to attend their training camp, was listed on the training camp roster published by the team, and Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren had said as recently as Wednesday afternoon that he expected Cleary to be with the team. Cleary was listed as part of the first group to go on the ice here at Wells Fargo Center, but when the 8:30 a.m. ET call time came, Cleary was nowhere to be found.

Holmgren said Thursday he wasn't surprised that Cleary opted to stay with the Red Wings.

"I knew he wanted to be in Detroit," Holmgren said. "He had been hanging around there all summer hoping things worked out. Good for him, things worked out. … Eight years there, he was hoping he could keep his ride with the Red Wings. Good for him."

Holmgren he got a message from Cleary's agent on Wednesday that Cleary was going to stay in Detroit, and got a voice mail from Cleary on Thursday morning informing Holmgren that he was re-signing with the Red Wings.

When asked if he felt he had been used by Cleary to get a contract from the Red Wings, Holmgren said no.

"Dan was up front right from the get-go," Holmgren said. "My first conversation was he loved Detroit, wanted it to work out there. … One of the things that makes him a good player is he's a character guy. He had deep roots with the Detroit organization. I can't fault him for that. I probably think more highly of him now than I did two days ago."

While the Flyers certainly were hoping to add a player who adds the type of grit and offensive skill that Cleary has to their third line, Holmgren said this situation allows him to see other younger players in that role.

"We were kind of anxious to look at a few guys in that position anyway," Holmgren said. "I don't know if you want to call it a silver lining, but it's really a good thing for us. Mike Raffl, a kid we signed, an Austrian kid who played in Sweden, we like. … [2012 first-round pick] Scott Laughton, who knows? There should be some competition for a couple spots up front."


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