If I were a betting man (which I am), I’d bet Darren Helm remains a Detroit Red Wings past the Feb. 24 NHL trade deadline.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about the fact he is hot since returning from injury – scoring three goals in as many games – and playing himself into the trade conversation.
I’m a big advocate for trading anyone who isn’t part of the Red Wings’ future core.
Guys like Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha, Tyler Bertuzzi and others are in that mix, although if I were general manager, nobody would be safe (more on this in a future article). That said, I’m not, and these guys will likely be wearing the winged wheel for many years to come.
Everyone else? Get what you can.
As I recently wrote here at Octopus Thrower, one guy in that mix is goaltender Jonathan Bernier. That still holds true after another strong performance against the Boston Bruins, despite giving up four goals. He’s earned the right to play for a contender and it behooves the Red Wings to get what they can while they’re in rebuild mode.
Same goes from Helm.
His NHL career has been riddled with injuries, but when he’s on the ice, he’s a scrappy player who occasionally finds ways to score goals. This type of player becomes more valuable during the playoffs when the game gets tighter and the goals become harder to come by.
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My hope is that general manager Steve Yzerman can use this recent surge from Helm and flip it into a mid-round draft pick. Yzerman has always been a charismatic one, he’s respected inside the NHL circles and Helm has given him the ammunition to sell, sell, sell.
What will Yzerman’s road blocks be?
Helm is 33 years old, has a gross cap hit of $3.85M, another year on his contract and the injury history isn’t going anywhere. Despite value in players like Helm at the deadline, I don’t think the Red Wings – and Yzerman’s charm – will find a buyer.
The team is better served to hold onto the veteran forward until he’s in a contract year and try and get more next season.
That doesn’t mean Yzerman shouldn’t try, but if Helm does stick around, at least he’s proving he can score…looking at you, Justin Abdelkader.