The Detroit Red Wings may have a glut of forwards heading into the 2013-14 season, but it does not appear that will stop them from bring back pending unrestricted free agents Daniel Cleary and Drew Miller. That’s the word from MLive’s Ansar Khan:
The Red Wings will head into next season with more players under contract than available roster spots but will make room for Cleary and Miller, a pair of hard-working forwards who fill a variety of needs on the ice and fit in well in the dressing room.
The Red Wings currently have 11 forwards under contract for next season, counting Tomas Tatar but not restricted free agents Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist, both of whom will be back. Add in those three plus Cleary, Miller and possibly rising prospect Riley Sheahan, and it brings the Wings’ forward total to a whopping 17.
They don’t figure to carry more than 14 forwards on the NHL roster, so some shuffling will be in order (even more if Detroit opts to hit the free-agent market or tries to retain Valtteri Filppula).
Trades or buyouts likely will be in order for the Wings to make room for everyone they’d like to keep — Mikael Samuelsson’s a rather obvious candidate to be shipped out, but the decisions get much more difficult after that.
Still, it’s not hard to see why the Wings would like to bring back both Cleary and Miller. Cleary has been with the franchise since 2005 and continues to prove his worth in the playoffs, even as his scoring declines. Miller, meanwhile, has earned a spot in Mike Babcock’s good graces since arriving in 2009, thanks to his penchant for hard work on the ice.
Babcock also has used both players extensively in penalty-killing roles and Cleary remained a part of the Wings’ power play throughout the 2013 season.
It’s not quite clear yet how the Wings will make room for Cleary and Miller, as well as all their promising young players. But it does appear that both Cleary and Miller will be back in Hockeytown for at least one more season.