March 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Darren Helm (43) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings at Joe Louis Arena. Detroit won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Helm: One Step Closer

Darren Helm has been a missing person since playing his last game of hockey January 25, 2013 and only playing one game in the 2012 playoffs and missing the last ten games of the 2011-2012 season before that. We here at Octopus Thrower really like to write about Helm, too.

He’s the player whose name you call out for on every penalty kill. He’s the player you miss seeing on the ice. He’s the player whose speed just cannot be matched by anyone else on this team.

And he’s the player who was just assigned to a conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins.

The news came Tuesday evening just after the Red Wings’ win against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Since the Red Wings are playing on the road this weekend, it’s the perfect opportunity to give Helm a chance to warm up.

As Winging It In Motown helpfully pointed out, Helm’s conditional stint is a maximum of three games/six days. If he did a two week stint, it would count against the salary cap, and the Red Wings aren’t quite prepared to move players around just yet.

It’s been 18 months, honestly, since we’ve seen Helm play any amount of consistent hockey. To see how he fares in Grand Rapids before pulling anyone off the Wings’ roster is the smartest move. Joakim Andersson has done a tremendous job as the third line center, so much so that it wouldn’t make sense to take him away from that. Only lacking Helm’s speed, Andersson has shown how smart of a player he is. I love seeing him on the penalty kill, too.

Then again, we can dream of the day when we see a penalty kill with Andersson, Helm, and Cory Emmerton.

So when Darren Helm is eligible to come off long-term injured reserve (October 23rd’s game against the Ottawa Senators), will we see him make a comeback? Or will Mike Babcock hold off for another few games and make a decision then?

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