The Red Wings inked Cleary for one year at $1.75 million after many reports had said Cleary had all but joined the Philadelphia Flyers.
I already explained my reasons why the Red Wings should not sign Cleary, but now Holland has even more work to do before the season opener on Oct. 2.
Let me start out by saying Holland is one of the better general managers, not just in the NHL, but in all of professional sports. Since becoming general manger in 1997, he has won three Stanley Cups (1998, 2002, 2008) and nearly won a fourth in 2009 for the Red Wings.
He knows how to build a successful team, and players love playing for him often taking pay cuts to remain in Detroit.
After losing Nicklas Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and Tomas Holmstrom last year, Holland reloaded on the fly by bringing up Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Tomas Tatar, Brendan Smith and Brain Lashoff from the Grand Rapids Griffins.
There were some bumps along the way, but the team clinched its 22nd consecutive playoff berth and pushed the eventual Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks to the brink of elimination in the Western Conference semifinals.
However after signing Cleary, the big question I have is: What are you doing, Kenny?
The Red Wings already had a log jam of forwards to deal with, and just added another one that isn't all that valuable to begin with.
The team currently has 17 forwards, and needs to trade or waive three of them to get under the roster limit of 23 players.
Not to mention Holland has about $2.4 million in cap space to cut to get under the $64.3 million salary cap for the 2013-14 season.
Patrick Eaves and Jordin Tootoo appear to be the most expendable at this point, but Tatar could be used as trade bait as well.
The most frustrating part of this signing is a guy like Tatar, who led the Griffins in scoring during the playoffs last year and was quite successful in the 18 games he played with the Red Wings in 2013, is possibly being pushed off to the side to make room for an aging, inconsistent player.
Tatar's value is much higher than Cleary's, and he's only 22. Tatar has spent the last four seasons in Grand Rapids and patiently waited to get his shot with the Red Wings. The time has finally come, and Holland decides he wants to bring Cleary back.
I'm not saying Cleary is the sole reason Tatar could end up not making the team. There was a possibility Tatar would have been one of the two players trimmed before Cleary signed, but it's going to be that much harder for Tatar to stay with the club after Cleary fills up one of those spots.
I normally trust Holland's personnel choices, but this one left me baffled. Holland messed up on this one, and he may have lost a talented prospect in the process.
Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.
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- Daniel Cleary
- Ken Holland