Speedy Detroit Red Wings winger Darren Helm has suffered yet another injury setback, but could still be ready to hit the ice for the season opener. After seeing injuries cost him 14 regular season games and four playoff games last season, the Wings have to hope that he can stay healthy for the forthcoming abbreviated season.
A 2005 fifth round draft pick, Helm first saw action with the Wings during the 2007-08 season, and had two goals in the playoffs as the team won the Stanley Cup. He didn’t get a full-time roster spot until the 2009-10 season, and scored 11 goals. The 2010-11 season was his breakout year, as he scored 12 goals and added 20 assists. He still managed nine goals and 26 points in limited time last season for his second best career point total.
His speed makes him a threat in shorthanded situations, and one of the team’s better role players. If he can shake off the recent run of bad luck and injuries, he should be a big part of a return to the playoffs.
In addition to the current back injury, Helm fractured his cheekbone during an informal skate during the lockout, had offseason arm surgery after being cut by a skate in the playoffs and missed a portion of the season with an injury sustained during an awkward check on the San Jose Sharks’ Dominic Moore. With many NHL-ready prospects in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wings have options if he gets hurt again, but would be better off with him on the ice, living up to his four-year, $8.5 million contract extension.