July 17 2013 10:02AM
As the summer days stretch out and the warmth of the sun, holidays and lack of hockey news begins to impact our ability to keep track of the day-to-day, it's important to remember there are holes in the Oilers and available free agents. Those free agents are currently weighing job opportunities with salary demands, and another two weeks of unemployment will probably mean these players are finding new homes for 2013-14. One player of interest to the Oilers may be Daniel Cleary.
HE'S A WING NOW!
Not so. According to this article, the Red Wings have no money left to spend on free agents.
- nhl.com Holland said the Red Wings are "capped out," meaning their roster is pretty much set. He still has to re-sign restricted free agents Joakim Andersson and Gustacv Nyquist, which will give Detroit 16 forwards under contract. He said he made contract offers to Daniel Cleary and Damien Brunner prior to July 5, but they were turned down, and the Red Wings instead signed Daniel Alfredsson and Stephen Weiss.
Cleary is 34, has good speed and his offense runs hot and cold. They key element for the Oilers is that he's well schooled in the 'it's what you leave" part of the NHL business and could step right in on a Boyd Gordon line. The Oilers current group of wingers who may slot in offer a mixed bag of scoring (Ryan Jones), passing (Ryan Smyth remains a dynamite passer deep into his 30's--what a sublime talent) and a full bag of injury potential.
Cleary might be a useful, and inexpensive addition.
HE LEFT, NEVER COMING BACK
The funny thing about life is that circumstances change. Daniel Cleary once gave major credit to Craig MacTavish for helping him grow as a player, and now Cleary may be able to return the favor by serving as mentor to some young, role playing Oilers. Is there anyone--anyone--who truly believes a player like Anton Lander wouldn't be wiser after a season with Cleary on his wing? Or what about Jesse Joensuu, who has been wandering in the professional wilderness that is the New York Islanders 'system'--would he not benefit?
And Cleary too--a man looking for another NHL ticket--would certainly get plenty of work this winter.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We're all just checking twitter, email and snail mail, hoping for news. Hey, maybe Kyle Clifford arrives today, and that would be cool. Still, there are useful players out there available for just money.
I think Daniel Cleary would be a very useful addition to the Edmonton Oilers.
Edit to Add: The Vollman Sledgehammer has Cleary in a nice district with good CorsiRel color.