|Helm scored nine goals with 17 assists in 68 games this season. (Getty Images)|
One of the things the Detroit Red Wings do better than almost every other franchise out there in hockey is that when they find guys they like, they keep them around. It isn't often that players leave Detroit as desired men.
The latest example of that is Darren Helm, the third-line center with loads of speed and who is a great asset to any penalty-killing unit. The Wings have re-signed him for four seasons at a reported cost of $8.5 million. That according to Ansar Khan of MLive.com.
An average salary of $2.125 million isn't too bad at all for a guy like Helm. His numbers offensively don't jump out at you -- the last three seasons he's been consistently around 10 goals with a point total in the high 20s/low 30s -- but that won't tell the story for a third-line guy like Helm. Maybe he will develop a little more offense down the line -- he is just 25 -- but that's just a bonus. What he does now is worth the price of admission, if you will.
"It's definitely nice that they see me as a player that deserves that," Helm told the Detroit Free-Press. "I'm happy to know where I'm going to be the next four years."
Unfortunately for Helm and the Wings, his postseason was cut short when he suffered severed tendons in his forearm after a fluke accident in Game 1 of their series against the Predators.
Now this doesn't come as a surprise on the timing or anything. Helm was just a few days shy of becoming a restricted free agent so the negotiations had probably been going on for a while. That leaves just Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey as their only RFAs left to sign.
In fact, the Red Wings have a roster almost completely set already with just a few openings left. The only two UFAs they have are Tomas Holmstrom and Jiri Hudler. Well, Ty Conklin too but it's very unlikely they'll be re-signing him.
And the good news about all of this? They have a lot of money remaining under the estimated salary cap. As in $24 million. It's pretty easy to see why the Wings are brought up in conversations for just about every top free agent this summer, it's more than their fans thinking everybody wants to play in Detroit. They have the money to get guys and can be selective. Plus they have a pretty good brand to their credit.
There is still some work that needs to be done defensively, but making sure that defensive forwards like Helm stick around for at least four more years shouldn't be discounted either.