The Detroit Red Wings definitely missed the contributions of speedy center Darren Helm during the 2013 season, as he played in only one game while battling a back injury. Perhaps that’s why, despite having most of the organization’s top prospects together for the annual Red Wings development camp, it is news about Helm’s recovery that is dominating headlines. Every time Helm has stepped on the ice this week, his every move has been closely followed by fans and the Detroit media alike. Early reports indicate that Helm is progressing slowly but showing positive signs. He has skated a few times but has not taken part in contract drills, and the hope seems to be that he is back to full strength when training camp opens in September.
Helm has appeared in 249 games for the Red Wings over the past six seasons, scoring 32 goals and collecting 83 points. He reached a career-high of 12 goals and 32 points during the 2010-11 season, but has been plagued by injuries ever since. He recovered from a wrist injury suffered in the first round of the 2012 playoffs in time for the lockout-shortened season, but injured his back and has dealt with several setbacks in his recovery process since then. Helm is a valuable penalty killer, and has the speed to be a constant threat to score while the team is shorthanded.
With top offensive talent like 2013 first round pick Anthony Mantha and Memorial Cup champion Martin Frk, as well as top defensive talents Ryan Sproul, Xavier Ouellet and Nick Jensen at the camp, the fact that Helm’s recovery has taken the spotlight shows just how much the Red Wings (and fans) have missed him.