Update (12 p.m. ET): Dan Cleary has signed with the Red Wings for one year and $1.75 million.
The Flyers signed him to a PTO and seemingly had a handshake agreement on a three-year deal, but Cleary seemed pretty keen on the chance to re-sign in the city he's spent the last eight years of his career.
The Flyers, meanwhile, have said that they won't look at free agents like Simon Gagne and will fill the hole they have on the left wing with somebody already in the organization.
Original story (9:21 a.m.): The Flyers took the ice at 8:30 a.m. today in South Philadelphia, and Dan Cleary was expected to be on the ice with the first group of players. He wasn't there.
It appears increasingly more likely that Cleary has turned back to his old team, the Detroit Red Wings, after reaching a what seemed like a verbal agreement on a three-year deal with the Flyers earlier in the week. There were multiple reports of a meeting between Cleary and and Wings management taking place in Michigan on Wednesday.
Working theory is he simply did not want to leave DET. Expectation is he will re-sign -- probably for less than he would get in PHI.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) September 12, 2013
At this point, I'm resigned to the idea Cleary will rejoin the Wings and hopeful the deal isn't close to that Flyers deal.— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) September 12, 2013
Here's Wings GM Ken Holland talking about Cleary this morning, noting that the player is still in Detroit and that he indeed could still wind up a Red Wing.
The whole situation with Cleary in Philly was complicated by the Flyers cap situation, which hindered the team from actually signing him with paper and pen and everything until later in camp. In the meantime, multiple reputable reports had claimed that there was a handshake deal in place between the two sides on a three-year, $2.75 million per year deal, and that while he'd officially be in Flyers camp on a professional tryout contract, the actual deal was only a matter of the Flyers clearing the requisite cap space to make it official.
When initial reports of Cleary's potential no show surfaced on Wednesday, Paul Holmgren said publicly that he still expected the winger to report. We'll see what Holmgren has to say later Thursday now that Cleary is a no-show. I doubt he'll hold back the truth at this point.
It's sort of a shame that Cleary won't be a Flyer, and also sort of a relief. After some initial shock about the length of the reported deal and the pricey financial terms, I personally grew on Cleary quite a bit. He would have filled that hole on Sean Couturier's wing quite well. But it's not going to happen.
Other options for the Flyers on the third line wing now that Cleary seems out? Many will hold out hope for Simon Gagne -- both for nostalgia reasons and the fact that he actually fits quite well, too -- but camp has now started and there's no guarantee that they offer him a chance to win a spot. Potential options already in camp include Scott Laughton, Tye McGinn, Jason Akeson and perhaps others.