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Season Recap/Grades: Darren Helm & Justin Abdelkader

"You guys seen Abby? He's in the box again? Alright."
"You guys seen Abby? He's in the box again? Alright."

We continue our season recap/grades today with two of the players that are expected to be a big part of the team's future. So far, we've looked at the EurotwinsJohan and HomerVal and Huds, the Netminders, and Bert and Cleary. Today, we're grading Helm and Gator on their performances during the 2010-2011 regular and post season.

Preseason Expectations: In my preseason expectations post, I called for Helm to get less time on ice now that Mike Modano and Jiri Hudler were on the team. Helm's ice-time decreased by about 1:12 per game from last season, but his production increased this year as he hit career highs in goals and assists. I called for Abdelkader to lead in hits and fighting majors (he was tops in hits with 188 and tied in fighting majors with 3). I also called for him to get 6-10 goals and he hit right on 7 this year.

Follow the jump for the rest of the season recap  and the grades for each player.

Darren Helm

#43 / Center / Detroit Red Wings



Jan 21, 1987

2010 - Darren Helm 82 12 20 32 9 16 0 2 2 177 6.8%

Along with Nicklas Lidstrom, Darren Helm was the only Red Wing to play all 82 regular season games. As mentioned before the jump, Helm's TOI/G was down this season from the previous one, but that didn't stop him from producing career highs in goals and assists. 

What he did well: Helm was his usual incredible self, providing a spark when needed, killing penalties like a seasoned vet, and contributing in every way that he possibly could. Helm was second on the team behind Henrik Zetterberg in faceoff percentage and fourth on the team in hits. Helm was second on the team in SHTOI/G behind Brad Stuart and a good 0:15 average above Patrick Eaves for all forwards. 

What he didn't do well: It's really hard to rip on Helm for his offensive or defensive performance this season because he was excellent on defense and had a career year on offense. I guess really the only thing I'm going to knock him for is the usual "he can't finish on breakaways" bit, and I'm grasping at straws at this point.

Overall Grade: Helm had a solid season and continues to amaze the fans with his speed and hard work. Helm was consistently one of the best defensive forwards and created offense too, he's earning a B+. Solid penalty killing, hustle from October until May, and emerging leadership are more than enough. 


Justin Abdelkader

#8 / Left Wing / Detroit Red Wings



Feb 25, 1987

2010 - Justin Abdelkader 74 7 12 19 15 61 0 0 1 129 5.4%

Justin Abdelkader had an up-and-down season, starting his season with 7 points in the month of November and then mustering just 12 more in the rest of the season. Abdelkader's season was tough to watch at times because he looked great one game and horrible the next. The consistency will come with more games played and he does seem to be making progress. I think most fans were pleased with his regular season, but he really fell apart in the postseason by taking penalties at the worst times.

What he did well: Abdelkader was a solid contributor at times and he got better at screening the goalie as well as fighting for pucks along the boards. He did a solid job of adjusting to new linemates as the lines shuffled throughout the year and he was a good physical presence out there, leading the team in hits.

What he didn't do well: Abby took far too many dumb penalties late in games or at pivotal moments. He struggled to find consistency with his offensive play, but there was no need for him to be an offensive force to begin with. He played decent defense but he did have some defensive gaffes as well. 

Overall Grade: Simply put, Abdelkader's consistency and poor timing with penalties was his biggest flaw. He will continue to grow and create a role for himself in the team. But for the past season, he's earning a C. 

Stay with us as more grades are coming.