Darren Helm has two years left on his four-year contract he signed in 2012 at a cap hit of 2.125 million dollars.
The Detroit Red Wings have a glut of centers on the roster heading into next season, which could cause Darren Helm to be pushed down the depth chart.
The injuries to Darren Helm and Stephen Weiss last season allowed Luke Glendening and Riley Sheahan opportunities to take spots on the roster in Detroit and neither player can be sent down to the AHL without clearing waivers.
Darren Helm finished the season healthy and playing on the second/third line with Daniel Alfredsson and Johan Franzen, but with Stephen Weiss no longer injured and heading into next season with a bill of health it could cause Helm to be removed from that line.
Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg will be centering the first line, Riley Sheahan will be centering the Kid Line, and Stephen Wiess will start the season centering the third line. But that only leaves only the fourth line center position open and there are three centers who could fill the position.
Darren Helm would have to battle Luke Glendening who finished the season as the Wings’ fourth line center and Joakim Andersson who finished the season in the press box, but either player could do a solid job on the fourth line in Detroit.
The fourth line seems like a waste for a player of Helm’s talent, though.
Darren Helm is most known for his speed and defensive abilities, but last season he was able to add an offensive game to his resume, after tallying twenty points in fourty-two games.
Darren Helm could play on the wing next to Stephen Weiss or Riley Sheahan or vice versa, but with the signing of Daniel Cleary and once Tomas Tatar signs the wing will be crowded as well.
The best case scenario for Detroit would be to start Darren Helm on the fourth line, giving the team four solid centers on the ice at all times, and then if an injury occurs they would be able to move him up the depth chart.
It will be hard watching Helm’s abilities go to waste on the fourth line, but it would help give the team some extra secondary scoring.