Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wings Overpaid for Helm? NO WAY!!

On Tuesday, Ken Holland signed speedy forward Darren Helm to a 4-year $8.5 million deal which carries a $2.125 million cap hit.  By doing this, the Red Wings have locked up a young (25 years old), speedy, tenacious, honey badger-of-a-player not even in his prime yet.  Most of the fan reaction has been positive.  However, there are some who feel the Wings overpaid.  Everyone is entitled to an opinion and, contrary to the belief of some, I respect it.  I just do not share this one in particular.

It is no secret that many of the Red Wings' core are on the wrong side of 30.  This is not to say they are old as some pundits would say, but they are a team whose key forwards are seasoned vets.  Helm is only 25 and already has 3 full seasons and a Stanley Cup run (almost 2) under his belt.  And he is getting better.  It is not like they re-upped with a 35 year old with maybe 2 good years left.  Helm is possibly the face of the next wave of young core players on this team.  Locking up young ascending talent is vital in the NHL's salary cap world.

Skeptics will look at the fact that he does not exactly light up the scoreboard.  Last year he only potted 10 goals (missed time with injuries mind you).  Again, he is young and he may become a 15-20 goal scorer, which for a 3rd line center, is pretty darn good.  Management and Babcock all have said they believe he will get to that level of production.  If that does happen then $2.125 million per year is robbery! Even if he doesn't, offense is not the main value he brings to the table.  He is without question the fastest skater on the team and arguably the fastest in the league.  His speed has made him the most important player on the PK unit by allowing an aggressive forecheck, which leads to turnovers, which occasionally leads to SH goals, and at the least, leads to killed penalties.  His is not big in stature but he is physical, tenacious, goes in the corners and wins battles, plays against the other team's top forwards, chips in timely goals, wins faceoffs...CREATES HAVOC!  If this year's Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings (and passed Wings champs) have shown us anything, having a strong 3rd and 4th lines (depth), strong PK, being physical, an aggressive forecheck, and SPEED are very critical pieces to the championship puzzle.  "Nightmare on Helm Street" possesses the skills to strengthen these aspects for the Wings.  I tend to agree with Ken Holland when he calls him one of the premier 3rd line centers in the league.  That isn't worth $2.125 Million? His absence the last few weeks of the season and in the playoffs proves otherwise.  They were not the same team.

Speaking of depth, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby together gave the Wings the best checking line in the NHL for years.  Having that depth was one of the biggest reasons for their playoff success.  The "Grind Line" shut down the opposing teams best lines, killed penalties, and chipped in timely goals taking some of the heat off the superstars.  Draper, was the leader of that line.  He was a very fast skater and tremendous in the face off circle.  Helm has been labeled by many as "Draper 2.0."  I think he could end up being better than Draper.  He is faster, more physical, and it appears has a bigger offensive upside.  If Draper was a huge part of the Wings' Cups, and Helm is on track to be as good if not better than him, $2.125 million is a bargain.

Darren Helm will never be a dynamic goal scorer.  He may never be a perennial all star.  He probably will never be a regular top six forward.  But he's young, fast, physical, and does the little things that championship teams must do.  He fills the void left by one of the Wings' most important playoff players of the past (Draper) and may end up being better than him.  And the Wings have him for 4 years.  I truly believe that by the end of this contract, the $2.125 million cap hit will prove to be highway robbery because rest assured, if the Red Wings win a Stanley Cup during that time, Darren Helm will be one of the biggest reasons why.  Bravo Mr. Holland!


  1. I completely agree with this blog! Helmer is one hell of a hard working player. He shows a tremendous amount of heart, something that is needed by a "role player". My hopes are that his wrist injury from the end of last year does not make him regress in his offensive production, otherwise he will be "draper 2.0" I prefer that he have his own nickname "Helmer" or "Nightmare on Helm Street

  2. Helm is essential to the Wings' future success as was Draper. Every year the Cup champ has a guy or 2 or 3 (or an entire team)like this that provides the spark and does all the little things that are needed (forecheck, faceoffs, PK, etc.). Helm is one of the best in the biz and he is young. As for the wrist injury, all reports say he will make a full recovery and is well on his way. Already has the stitches out and should begin full training at the same time he normally would. If his offensive game further developes that is great and a bonus. As long as he stays the fast, gritty, pain in the ass on the ice who plays his tail off then I am happy. Btw "Nightmare on Helm Street" is one of the coolest nicknames in hockey.

  3. Great move to lock up Helmer at what i also believe to be a bargain long-term that said its time for HOMER to go. I think he needs to move to Sweden with his buddy Nick. We need to take his $$ and put it to better use.....also on the front-line we need someone who can win a face-off, another factor that i think has lead to our lack of recent playoff success.

  4. Bye-bye Homer & Hudler...need some speed and yes we were pretty poor on faceoffs lsat couple years.