Red Wings keeping Cleary with $14M, five-year deal
"He's 29 and we really think he's coming into his prime," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.
Cleary -- out with a broken jaw since Feb. 9 -- has matched his career high with 20 goals and has 40 points in 57 games.
He has 84 career goals and 123 assists in 534 games for Chicago, Edmonton, Phoenix and Detroit. He made his debut during the 1997-98 with the Blackhawks.
Cleary signed in Detroit as a free agent in 2005 and had three goals and 12 assists in his first season as a fourth-line role player. He had 20 goals and 20 assists last season.
"He's a great story for us and himself," Holland said. "We found him at the right time, finally maturing and looking for a job. He was a top junior and a top-15 player in the draft. He just needed to get in better condition and he's done that."
Cleary's contract includes a no-trade clause for the first 3½ years, a concession the Red Wings were willing to make in a cap-friendly deal before he became a free agent this summer.
"The internal discussion was, 'If we don't get him signed, how do you replace him?' because he does so many things for us," Holland said. "And if you hit the July 1 market, you are negotiation with 29 other teams."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press
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