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Grand Rapids Griffins Sign Daniel Cleary

Sometimes a PTO is just a PTO

Detroit Red Wings v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Friday signed veteran forward Daniel Cleary to a one-year contract.

During his first season with the Griffins in 2015-16 and first in the American Hockey League since 1999-00, Cleary played in 35 games for Grand Rapids and contributed 15 points (3-12—15). The 37-year-old skated in all nine of the team’s Calder Cup Playoff games and tallied six penalty minutes.

Over the course of his 19-year professional career, Cleary has played in 938 NHL games and 1,121 pro contests, including stints in the AHL, IHL and Swedish Elite League.

A first-round draft pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 1997, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound winger has accumulated 387 points (165-222—387) and 492 PIM in the NHL between the Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Phoenix (Arizona) Coyotes and Detroit Red Wings. Cleary has also totaled 52 points (24-28—52) in 121 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

Signed as a free agent by Detroit in 2005, the native of Carbonear, Newfoundland, has played in 609 games with the Red Wings, producing 275 points and 299 PIM. Cleary helped Detroit capture the franchise’s 11th Stanley Cup in 2008, chipping in three points (2-1—3) in 22 postseason games.

The Griffins will open the 2016-17 campaign at home against the Chicago Wolves on Friday, Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. before traveling to Chicago and battling the Wolves on Oct. 15.

Single-game tickets are currently on sale. Fans can secure their full-season, select-season or groupticket packages by calling (616) 774-4585 ext. 2 or visit for more information.

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This should put to rest the concerns over the Red Wings’ bringing Cleary into camp on a professional try out agreement, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that anybody with an AHL-only deal like this is eligible to sign an NHL contract which would override such a deal.

Still, I think the writing is written loudly and Cleary on the wall about what this means for Danny going forward.

In terms of affect on the Griffins roster, remember that there is no AHL roster limit. The only consideration here is that of the 18 skaters who dress for any given game, 13 must be qualified as “development players.” 12 of them have to have fewer than 260 pro games and another has to have no more than 320. This leaves only five slots open for players like Cleary who have vast experience. Currently, Dan Cleary would make the eighth player on the Griffins roster like that. The other forwards are Eric Tangradi, Ben Street, Tomas Nosek, Matthew Ford, and Louis-Marc Aubry. Defensemen Nathan Paetsch and Brian Lashoff also qualify.

Of that group, Nosek is the only one I’d realistically still call a prospect.