Birthday: January 21, 1987
Birthplace: St. Andrews, Manitoba
Weight: 196 lbs.
Drafted: 132nd Overall, 2005
Contract: 4yr/$3.85M AAV Remaining
Last Season’s Performance
Darren Helm had a bit of an up and down season last year. He started out well, scoring four goals and 3 assists in the first eight games of the season, as part of a line with Frans Nielsen and Tomas Vanek that paced the Red Wings out to a 6-2 record. Like the Red Wings however, that was as good as it would get for Helm last year (at least in terms of scoring). The injury bug would jump up to bite Darren again, this time in the form of a shoulder injury in the middle of November that would cost him two months of hockey. By the time he returned the Red Wings were beyond and realistic shot at the playoffs and the line blender was in full force as the Wings tried to find any combination of players that could provide any kind of consistent offense. Over the last three and a half months of the season Helm logged anywhere from 12 to 19 minutes in a game, often with different linemates.
This Season’s Expectations
Darren Helm is a bit of a tough one to predict. In the best of scenarios, he would centering a line with some combination of Luke Glendening, Tyler Bertuzzi and Riely Sheahan on his wings with the expressed role of making life as difficult as possible for their opponents with a relentless and aggressive forecheck that is intended to get the puck deep in the opposing zone, keep it there as long as possible. This makes life difficult for the opposing team, gives the rest of the Red Wings forwards (and their blue line) a chance to catch their breath a little and possible regroup. My concern is that the coaching staff and front office still want to see Darren for more that he is and will try to put him on a line that is expected to score more consistently than he has shown capable of doing. There is absolutely a role on any team, even one that is in the midst of a rebuild, for a guy who can get you 10-12 goals a season while being a tenacious forechecker and penalty kill regular, as long as you play him that way.
As Wings fans we are have been looking for the next “Grind Line” since the original got old and while they would not provide the same level of offensive output or even the same defensive shutdown ability, the line I mentioned above would be able to hold their own on most nights. Hopefully the coaches see this as well, even if playing on a line with Glendening and Sheahan might not be great for Helm’s overall production numbers