On Tuesday, the Detroit Red Wings worked their way to a 2-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. While the win was their third in a row and highlighted some of the team’s strengths, perhaps the best news of the night was that center Darren Helm will be sent to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL for a conditioning stint. Helm was in Grand Rapids Wednesday morning practicing with the team, and should be in the lineup on Friday when the Griffins play the Milwaukee Admirals (Nashville Predators). He has not played since Jan. 25, while battling a groin injury. That was the latest injury on a long list of setbacks for Helm, who has also battled a bad back and suffered a wrist injury in the past two seasons.
While getting Helm back would be a great boost for the Red Wings, it could also lead to a lot of roster moves. The team will evaluate things this weekend after seeing Helm play back-to-back games, and if he’s ready to return someone will be on their way out of town. Patrick Eaves is also nearing a return, which would see Luke Glendening sent back down to the Griffins. In 249 games, Helm has scored 32 goals while collecting 83 points. He has great speed and is an asset on the penalty kill, and if he can return at full strength he’ll battle Joakim Andersson for the third line center spot.
In addition to Helm, the Griffins have three other players who either played in the 2013 playoffs or started the season in Detroit – goaltender Petr Mrazek, center Cory Emmerton and winger Gustav Nyquist.