We should have known this was going to be a wacky season when The Namesake went down with a shoulder injury right before the season even began. He had to sit and watch his team lose both games in Stockholm (as did I) and returned just in time to see Franzen's knee get destroyed. Helm missed a total of seven games all season...which is pretty good considering all of the catastrophic injuries that plagued us this year.
Babcock wanted Helm in the lineup for all of last season, but Kenny said 'no'. Helm was sent to Grand Rapids for another year of development. He played in 16 games in the regular season and 23 games in the play-offs. Helm scored two huge goals, one in Game 7 against the Ducks and the OT winner that knocked Chicago out of the play-offs and handed Detroit its second consecutive Western Conference Championship.
He has seen the last of the Grand Rapids Griffins.
What I expected: 6 G 12 A 18 Pts
What we got: 11 G 13 A 24 Pts
My grade: B+
Oh, the goals he could have scored if he could just work on his finishing touch. In fact, I put him in at around 20 goals this season if he had cashed in on just a few of those breakaways. His speed is his deadliest weapon, no doubt. He just need to work on his hands being able to keep up. If he does, he should hit 20 goals for sure next season if he keeps playing with Patrick Eaves. That is...if we sign him. He's a Restricted Free Agent this year, but I'm not too worried about Detroit retaining his services.
That is...unless I missed my guess about what a class act he truly is. We obviously know that the coach thinks highly of him. I would expect Kenny Holland to feel the same way. I want Darren Helm to be a Red Wing for life. I want at least a 3 year deal. But what is Darren Helm worth on the market?
Let's do a little digging in terms of other kids who got comparable points/age:
Dustin Boyd - CGY/NSH: 23 years old, made $650,000 this year - 24 points (C)
Dan Girardi - NYR: 26 years old, made $1,500,000 this year - 24 points (D)
David Clarkson - NJ: 26 years old, made $837,500 this year - 24 points (RW)
Tyler Kennedy - PIT: 23 years old, made $725,000 this year 25 points (C)
With Girardi skewing this tiny little case study (as both a defensmen and in terms of pay), a fair salary for Helm based on this would be in the area of $930,000 or about a 35% raise in pay. Sounds pretty good doesn't it? As far as I'm concerned...if it means locking him down for good, just hand over Jason Williams' salary. The Namesake is worth it...or at least he will be in a year or two.