Detroit Red Wings: The Effect Of Darren Helm’s Injury


The Detroit Red Wings opened up their annual training camp in Traverse City Michigan last Friday with a bit of bad luck. Darren Helm and free agent forward Jerome Verrier collided during one of the team’s opening drills which resulted in both players suffering fairly severe injuries.

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Verrier suffered a broken leg, which required surgery, and Helm was left with a Grade I slightly separated left shoulder and a weeks worth of concussion protocol.

Now I don’t know what Darren Helm has done to upset the hockey gods but the poor guy just can’t seem to catch a break (no pun intended) when it comes to avoiding injuries. Helmer hasn’t played a full 82 game regular-season since the 2010-2011 NHL season. Helm’s latest injury will put him out of action for 2-4 weeks and his availability for Detroit’s season opener against Toronto is currently up in the air.

So now Jeff Blashill and the Detroit Red Wings are once again faced with shuffling their lines to replace the speedy center. Heading into training camp the plan was for Helm to play on Detroit’s second line alongside Brad Richards and Tomas Tatar. Tomas Jurco filled in for Helm on the aforementioned line during the second day of the Wings’ training camp.

So how does the latest Darren Helm injury effect the Detroit Red Wings as they prepare to open up the 2015-2016 season? Does the injury to #43 dramatically change the Red Wings game-plan?

Thankfully for all of us who are fans of Darren Helm (a.k.a. every Detroit hockey fan), the injury to Helm wont put him out of action for an extended amount of time like several of his past injuries. This injury however does create a lot of interesting possibilities and options at the present time.

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With the Red Wings becoming a much deeper team upfront, due in large part to their promising young group of offensive prospects, the injury to Helm could allow one of several talented youngsters to make a run for a roster spot. Or maybe we will just stick with Dan Cleary.

I was just joking about the whole Dan Cleary thing, but I am serious about the possibility of a prospect being able to have an impressive training camp and at least filling in for Helm for a couple of the team’s first few games. So which prospects could possibly step up into this role? There is one player who comes to mind.

Dylan Larkin has accelerated up the Red Wings’ depth chart faster than any other prospect in recent memory. After stealing Anthony Mantha’s title as the reigning top-prospect in Detroit’s system, Larkin could very well break the mold of a Detroit Red Wing’s prospect and quickly make the jump into the NHL. In a recent interview with MLive, Larkin described his eagerness to put on the Winged Wheel:

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"“I want to be on the team. I don’t want it because of injuries. I want to be on the team because I earned it by the way I play in preseason and the way I play here. I don’t think there’s much pressure but I guess there’s an opportunity.”"

Aside from Larkin, there are a few other prospects who could also be ready to be called up to make a name for themselves in the NHL. Tomas Nosek, Andreas Athanasiou and Tyler Bertuzzi all had impressive outings during the recent Traverse City prospects tournament, but still may require a little more time in the AHL before making the leap into the NHL.

The Red Wings may also choose to stick with a more NHL experienced player like Tomas Jurco to fill Helm’s absence. Jurco is another youngster, having only played in 99 NHL games, who will be looking to have a breakout year and finally find his spot on the roster. Under new head coach Jeff Blashill, Tomas Jurco may have the opportunity.

As I stated before, we are all fortunate that Helmer will only be sidelined for a few weeks. Losing a player of Darren Helm’s skill, caliber and heart is undoubtedly a loss, whether it be for 2 games or 20. Helm is a spark-plug in the Detroit hockey motor and an invaluable part of the penalty-kill. It will be extremely interesting to see what develops in his absence.

Next: Red Wings That Could Score 20 Goals This Season

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