Losing Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks was tough enough for Daniel Cleary. But taking off his Detroit Red Wings' sweater – perhaps for the final time – after the season ended Wednesday night at the United Center? Well, that was really difficult. Cleary is among the Red Wings' five unrestricted free agents and whether or not he can agree to contract terms remains to be determined. But after cleaning out his locker Friday at Joe Louis Arena, the 14-year-veteran made it clear where he wants to be – in Detroit for a ninth season. "My thoughts are I love Detroit, obviously," said Cleary 34. "That's an understatement. Got a great relationship with Kenny (Holland, the Red Wings' general manager). He said we have to get talking. So we'll figure it out pretty soon." Cleary, a member of the Red Wings' 2008 Stanley Cup championship team, was Detroit's second-leading scorer in the playoffs with four goals and six assists in 14 games. He said leaving Detroit would be difficult. "Yeah, it would be," said Cleary, who made $2.8 million this season. "Taking off the jersey in Chicago, I had to take a minute. I don't know. I don't want to get too emotional but certainly the relationship I have with Detroit is very special." What what would it take for Cleary to return? "I want the same as what Pav makes, the same term," Cleary joked in reference to Pavel Datsyuk, the Red Wings' highest-paid player at $6.7 million. "So we'll start there." Here's a capsule look the Red Wings' other unrestricted free agents and what they had to say about next season.
Daniel Cleary among free agents who want to return to Wings
Michigan Live | Jun 1