The off season is coming to an end and where has Paul Holmgren been? Making another characteristically unpredictable bad decision and bad contract with Dan Cleary. Cleary, 34 year old veteran with bad knees, deal will not be official till the end of the month but it’s a cringe worthy deal at best. From the reports it sounds like Cleary has landed a 3 year, $2.75 million per season deal which will include a no trade clause. Cleary’s contract not only takes up cap space but with a no trade clause it’s only a matter of time before the Flyer’s buy him out. Rest assured there was talk of incorporating PTO into the deal and making Cleary go to camp to prove he still has game left to play. There is no harm is taking a look at Cleary but the commitment up front to a veteran player is just daunting. The Flyers will have to wait until the first of the month to confirm this deal because they are already over the cap and will have to move Chris Progner to long term injured reserve. In addition, the Flyers will have to make a trade or demotions to the AHL to free up the cap space. If this was an all-star player that would take the team to the play offs it wouldn’t be horrible but the Flyers are freeing up cap space for a veteran with bad knees. Saving some cap space for a rainy day is not Holmgren’s style apparently, this is such a classic Homer move. When the GM of Cleary’s past team, the Detroit Red Wings, Ken Holland does not even put up a fight to keep his player, it can’t be because he is outstanding. This past season, Cleary had nine goals and six assists, he is running out of steam when compared to his 2010-2011 season where he had 26 goals and 20 assists.
Looking towards this upcoming season, Team Captain Claude Giroux has said he is motivated, after such a disappointing season where the Flyers missed the play offs for the second time since 1994. Giroux is wanting to lead the Flyers into the playoffs, proving last season was just a fluke. Meanwhile, Holmgren continues to fill the team with old timers. Let’s re-sign Knuble or Gagne, they had some good plays last season. Holmgren is the wild card; he always is very unpredictable, so while this is a little surprising, it is not an entirely shocking move for the Flyers. The Flyers have some great leadership this year who will support their young captain as he continues to grow into his role with the team. Contracts like this one with Cleary only prove the Flyers organization has not changed much since Bobby Clarke. The strength and depth of the team could still lead the Flyers to the playoffs, at least giving them the skill level to finish better than 10th this season.