Posts tagged “Dan Cleary”

Wings Make Big Free Agent Push

The Wings signed Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss on the first day of the open free agent market yesterday, upgrading their forward corps even while letting Valtteri Filppula, and likely Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner, walk.

The Alfredsson signing has the potential to be a more offensively-oriented Dallas Drake acquisition, as Alfredsson is highly motivated to win his first championship in the final days of his career. Not highly-motivated enough to take a more minor cap hit, perhaps, but still—I don’t have him pegged as a Mike Modano redux.

I don’t know a ton about Stephen Weiss, but the expert consensus seems to be he’ll be the quality second line center the Wings were looking for with Filppula’s departure. He was their main target on the market, so whatever you think of that emphasis over, say, Mikhail Grabovski, it’s cool to see them actually achieve a goal (in contrast with last summer).

Losing Filppula hurts—I’m always more attached to former Griffins. But he’s been a bit of a disappointment. The Wings were definitely a better team when he was in the lineup, but he seemed to have plateaued. I’m not sure what Yzerman is thinking indulging his financial demands, especially given his former position as a Red Wings exec on the inside track of Fil’s development. I feel a bit like this is another Lapointe departure and that’s a bummer.

On the other hand, the Wings made big veteran free agent moves that summer and it turned out pretty well, if you recall. So it may not be all bad.

And losing Brunner hurts a little too. I would have been happier if he’d kept his demands reasonable and stuck around. But I just need to remember that he couldn’t crack the top six consistently on this team, so it may not be a great loss. I have serious doubts about his ability to produce elsewhere. We’ll see.

Cleary’s still being pursued by the Wings, but I’m not entirely sure why. He’s been one of my favorites for years, but he’s so beat up his effectiveness has taken a nose-dive. If he wants to continue playing, he’s a warrior, but I’d rather his lineup spot go to someone not about to fall apart. So if the Wings don’t make a deal, it’ll be okay.

So, two big forward signings and the Wings’ D is unchanged. That’s not great, but there’s a chance some of the forward moves necessary to get under the roster limit could help with that. The signings boost the Wings’ chances in the Flortheast Division and could set them up for a trade deadline final piece-type move, but upgrading the defense somehow has to be a goal of this off-season.

Dan Cleary at 50% > Mursak/Conner at 100%, Apparently

As I remarked on Twitter, “I love that he’s willing to play through the injury, but his effectiveness has approached 0 doing it.”

Over the past few weeks or whatever, think back to how many times you’ve been annoyed at something Cleary did or didn’t do on the ice and consider the fact that it’s almost certainly because of this knee thing. Now ask yourself the question: “is this the guy to keep in the lineup at 50%?” This isn’t Steve Yzerman playing on one leg we’re talking about.

I’ve got a Dan Cleary jersey at home, so I’m not Cleary detractor, but I’ll fully admit the on-ice results haven’t been there. I guess this is a case of weighing experience more heavily than anything else. Because otherwise, Mursak or Conner would be the obvious choice.

Cleary Out, Mursak In

Checking in briefly with mention of the Cleary injury: another broken bone, another 4+ weeks without an important forward. That really sucks, especially given how strong a season Cleary’s had. The Wings’ll miss his offense (still leads the team in goals) and hustle. It just became even more important that guys like Zetterberg, Franzen, Filppula, Hudler and Bertuzzi step it up in this mid-season grind.

And everybody strap on those skate fenders, please.

Mursak’s the Wings’ choice of call-up for this situation, which is somewhat surprising given how strong a season Ilari Filppula’s been having. Megan tells me he’s very fast and strong on the backcheck, but more of a finisher than a playmaker. He should be able to bring those things to the ice even in the limited role he’s sure to have.

Well, That Explains It…

If you were like me and wondered where Dan Cleary was last year, you owe him an apology. Sorry, Dan. Glad you’re able to go up stairs normally again…

Can you imagine playing on a knee you can’t even use to go up stairs?