Cleary took part in an informal practice on Friday, September 6 at Joe Louis Arena. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland also extended an invitation to Cleary to attend the team's training camp in Traverse City next week.
Cleary declined the invitation saying he doesn't want to go to any team's camp without a contract.
I don't know what Holland's reasons are for wanting to keep Cleary so badly, but he needs to let go. At 34, Cleary's best days are behind him.
He had an abysmal regular season scoring 15 points in 48 games. I will give him credit for bouncing back in the playoffs with 10 points in 14 games, second on the team behind Henrik Zetterberg.
But despite his playoff performance, Cleary can not be counted on to contribute on a consistent basis like he did in the playoffs. Plus, with young guys like Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar most likely getting full-time jobs with the Red Wings, Cleary's role on this team continues to diminish.
Not to mention the Red Wings already have a log jam at forward. They still need to trim two forwards off the roster to get down to 23 players. Adding Cleary to the roster would mean the Red Wings would have to get rid of three players, assuming everyone stays healthy.
If Cleary was an absolute must-have player, I could understand making room for him on the roster. However, he is far from a must-have player, and the Red Wings have enough talented players who can step up and take his place.
Cleary has proven himself a capable goal scorer in the past, but the Red Wings have a crop of young talent that is just as good if not better than Cleary is right now. They got much-needed experience in the Stanley Cup and AHL playoffs, and they can contribute more than Cleary can.
Plus, the young guys are a lot cheaper than Cleary. Cleary's last contract paid him $3 million during the last three years. The Red Wings don't need to be wasting $3 million on a player that won't contribute. Besides, that's Mikael Samuelsson's job anyway.
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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