Darren Helm suffered through multiple setbacks while trying to return from his back injury; he played one game last season and missed the beginning of the current season.
When Helm returned to action this season against the Edmonton Oilers, Mike Babcock wanted to ease him into the line-up. But even being eased into the line-up, he was able to make his presence felt by racing down the ice on a breakaway and scoring his first goal of the season in his first game.
That was just the start of Darren Helm’s impact on the team, though.
When Stephen Weiss and Daniel Alfredsson went down, it was Helm who was slotted into the second center position and he has made it his own. Helm brings speed, solid defense, and a spark to the second line, which is helping the team create secondary scoring.
In the past five games for Helm, he has five goals, is +5, and is averaging about 16 minutes a game against the other team’s first or second line.
Helm’s two goals against the Islanders put him third place on the team in scoring and is now only 4 goals behind Zetterberg and 5 behind Datsyuk, but if he keeps up the pace he is on he could certainly catch up with them and maybe surpass them for a short period of time.
Usually when we talk about Darren Helm it is about his hands of stone, which cost the Red Wings breakaway or shorthanded goal, but there is a new Helm in Hockeytown and he knows how to light the lamp.
When watching that .gif of Darren Helm, I cannot help, but be amazed at the progress he has made off the ice while recovering from injury. The patience that he was able to develop is outstanding because two seasons ago he would have taken the shot, but instead he held the puck and beat Poulin cleanly on a deke. Are we sure he did not have hand replacement surgery?
With Helm playing as well as he is right now there is no way Mike Babcock can drop him down from the second line because he is creating scoring opportunities for himself and his linemates.
The only concerns would be whether Helm can keep up his current level of play and if he will re-aggravate his back injury, but with every game those concerns start to fade away and it looks as if Darren Helm is back for good.
Welcome back, Darren Helm. We missed you.