DETROIT -- Dan Cleary has cleared waivers, and will be assigned to the Red Wings AHL affiliate, Grand Rapids Griffins.
Dan Cleary cleared waivers.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) October 8, 2015
Not much of a surprise, as Cleary's ship has all but sailed in the NHL. He was pushed off the roster by Jakub Kindl, who returned from injured reserve. Red Wings are much better off carrying seven defensemen into a back-to-back than six. All of Cleary's $950k salary can be buried in the AHL, so the Red Wings will not be affected by this move.
So, assuming the Red Wings do not get decimated by injuries, Dan Cleary won't be back. Realistically, Cleary could retire tomorrow, but that remains to be seen. For now, he'll add another veteran voice to the Grand Rapids locker room. I think I speak for all Red Wings fans when I say that we all saw this coming. Joakim Andersson is far better than Dan Cleary. It was time. Farewell, Lieutenant Dan.
UPDATE: The Wings aren't done making moves. Today the team announced that Alexei Marchenko will be activated from IR along with Jakub Kindl. To make room for Marchenko (Cleary being waived was to allow Kindl to be activated), Xavier Ouellet has been assigned to Grand Rapids.
Based on the defensive pairings in practice and Jeff Blashill's comments, it looks like Marchenko will be the 7th defenseman to open the season, and the Wings will go with a third pairing of Brendan Smith and Kindl. You can't say this season won't be exciting.
Official release from the Red Wings organization:
The Detroit Red Wings today assigned right wing Dan Cleary and defenseman Xavier Ouellet to the AHL’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Additionally, the team removed defensemen Jakub Kindl and Alexey Marchenko from injured reserve.
Cleary, 35, has skated in 938 career NHL games for the Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix Coyotes and Red Wings since the 1997-98 campaign, logging 387 points (165-222-387) and 492 penalty minutes. Since joining the Red Wings in 2005-06, Cleary has registered 275 points (124-151-275) in 609 games, hitting the 20-goal mark on three occasions. The Carbonear, Newfoundland, native has also played 111 playoff games for Detroit, notching 49 points (23-26-49) and 66 penalty minutes. Cleary was a member of the Red Wings’ 2008 championship team, becoming the first native of Newfoundland to win the Stanley Cup. He appeared in 97 AHL games from 1998-00, recording 101 points (31-70-101). The former first-round pick (13th overall) of the Blackhawks was also a two-time OHL First-Team All-Star, racking up 323 points (127-196-323) in 220 games with the Belleville Bulls from 1994-98.
Ouellet, 22, is beginning his third professional season after splitting the 2014-15 campaign between the Red Wings and Griffins. He recorded three points (2-1-3) in 21 NHL games with Detroit and added 16 points (1-15-16) in 52 games with the Griffins. Ouellet also tallied six points (1-5-6) in 16 AHL postseason games. The Bayonne, France, native has totaled 33 points (5-28-33) in 122 total AHL games over the last two seasons and was named to the AHL All-Star Classic last season. Originally drafted by Detroit in the second round (48th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Ouellet notched 160 points (41-119-160) in 223 QMJHL games with the Montreal Juniors and Blainville-Boisbriand Armada from 2009-13 and was a QMJHL First-Team All-Star in 2012 and 2013.
Detroit begins the 2015-16 regular season tomorrow night, hosting the Toronto Maple Leafs at 7:30 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit & FOX 2/97.1 The Ticket) before traveling to Carolina to take on the Hurricanes on Saturday at 7 p.m. (FOX Sports Detroit/97.1 The Ticket).