Where to begin. Do we start with the Flyers’ always-maddening salary cap situation, which prevents them from physically signing anybody to an actual contract right this moment? Or should we talk about the multi-year deal the club is giving yet another player in his mid 30s?
How ‘bout we just go with the news that the Orange & Black have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $8.25 million contract with longtime Detroit Red Wing forward Dan Cleary.
But the only thing the Flyers and Clearly have truly agreed on here is a wink-nudge “tryout.” The team is $2 million over the cap at the moment, but they’ll be below the threshold once the season starts and Chris Pronger can be moved on to the long-term injured reserve list, which will free up close to $5 million. Only then can the pact with Cleary become official.
It’s the same reason why the team couldn’t do anything with Simon Gagne this summer. On that note, with Cleary now in the fold in Philadelphia as a probable third-line winger, it appears Gagne’s ship has sailed here.
Meanwhile, the Cleary deal has its critics. He’ll be 37 years old at the end, which means the Flyers are blocking a roster spot that could eventually go to or even right now belong to one of their young, developing players with yet another aging veteran, and for years to come at that.
Oh, and the contract comes complete with a full no-trade language.
Cleary is likely to be no more than a third-line forward, and the three-year deal makes this a real head scratcher. There was no obvious need for a guy like Cleary. I'm just baffled, and I don't think that's just because I'm tired. What does Cleary bring the Flyers that's worth more than what Tye McGinn or Jason Akeson or Gagne or [Scott] Laughton or any other number of options could of provided?
Purely from the standpoint of what the Flyers are getting for their money, it’s probably fine. Cleary is your proverbial glue guy, somebody who will score some dirty goals and play important special teams minutes.
Ideally though, they could have found a similar contribution from the group of players currently in their minor-league system, or with a one-year deal to a veteran like Gagne. Yeah, baffling sounds about right, but you know the Flyers -- always going for it.