31-Year-Old Center – Detroit Red Wings
Darren Helm Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $19.25 million contract extension with the Red Wings in July of 2016.
Helm found the back of the net in Friday's 3-2 road loss to the Blue Jackets.
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Age is determined on October 1st of each season.No Yes
Darren Helm: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
An undersized but gritty two-way veteran with wheels, Helm is the prototypical Red Wing. He’s spent at least parts of nine seasons exclusively with Detroit, highlighted by a Stanley Cup win in 2008. Helm secured a five-year, $19.25 million contract extension in July while making it clear that he wants to be more involved in the offense moving forward. He may get his wish, as early signs point to the 29-year-old slotting in on the second line along with talented playmakers Frans Nielsen and Gustav Nyquist. You could do much worse than selecting Helm, a special-teams extraordinaire, in the later rounds of fantasy drafts this fall.
Helm was finally able to return to hockey in 2013-14, scoring 20 points in 42 games. He once again struggled with injuries - both groin and concussion - but at least was able to show flashes of the speed and skill he possesses. If he could stay healthy for a full season, he could score 45-50 points, but that hasn't happened in a few years.
Helm is a complete mystery heading into 2013-14, as the back injury that kept him out all last season still hasn't been officially diagnosed. Although he is practicing again, this led to setbacks in 2012-13, so it can't be trusted. He's a speedster and a quality third-line center when healthy, but Detroit doesn't know if they'll have Helm back in time for the season to start. It's best to avoid him now and perhaps grab him on the waiver wire later.
A lacerated tendon in Helm's forearm ended his season after 68 games last year, while he was on track to approach the 32 points he posted in 2010-11. Much like teammate Justin Abdelkader, Helm's fantasy value is likely limited by his even strength role. As a speedy checker, he matches up well against opposing teams' top line, while his wheels make him an asset capable of scoring goals on the penalty-killing unit as well. Helm had surgery for the injury in April, and is expected to be fully recovered for the start of training camp.
Helm delivered a career-high 32 points, including 12 goals, while playing in all 82 games for the Wings last season. His value to the club is derived primarily from his contributions to the penalty-killing unit, but Helm has game-breaking speed that makes him a dangerous player in open-ice situations. If he centers the Wings' third line, Helm could make a run at 40-45 points this season while providing a pesky forechecking presence, but it's unlikely that he'll ever be utilized as a top-six forward in Detroit.
Arguably the fastest player on the pond donning a wing-wheeled sweater, Helm has turned into a very well-rounded checking-line player while earning the trust of head coach Mike Babcock. Although his time at even strength could be limited while he centers the fourth line, Helm is a valuable penalty-killer for the Wings. Last season, he chipped in 24 points in 75 games including 11 goals, with three tallies coming short-handed. For now, he remains more valuable to the Red Wings than to fantasy owners because of the nature of his role.
For the second straight season, Helm provided a late-season boost to the energy line in Detroit, eventually leading the league with 118 hits in the postseason. He's not in a position to provide much offense now, but he could eventually develop into a 30-35 point player with more playing time. The speedy Helm was ticketed to start the year as the Red Wings' fourth-line center, but a sprained AC joint in his shoulder will likely put him on the shelf until the middle of October.
Helm seems destined for at least a third-line spot in Detroit for the long term, but he may be showcasing his excellent speed and penalty-killing ability in Grand Rapids (AHL) to begin the season. In the early years of his career with the Wings, Helm is going to provide energy as a part-time contributor, but they trusted him enough to use him as the fourth-line center during the playoffs last season.