As first reported by Aaron Ward, Detroit has reportedly re-signed center/left winger Darren Helm to a five-year deal worth $19.2 million, or $3.8 million per season. Helm's timing couldn't have been better.
Coming off a year where the speedy Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup, Helm could parlay his fast wheels into a long-term, lucrative contract. His most recent pact with the Red Wings carried an average annual value of just $2.1 million.
Helm was pretty useful to Detroit this past season, facing tough competition and producing positive possession numbers, despite starting less than 30 per cent of his shifts in the offensive zone. At best, he's a secondary scorer. Helm has never hit the 40-point plateau in the NHL and nearly $4 million a season may sound like a lot for that type of offense.
The real acid test will come at the back end of the contract. Will Helm still be an effective speedster when he's 33? If so, you can probably forgive the minor offensive numbers if you still have a player who can push the forecheck and kill penalties. On the other hand, as it is Helm only played 15 minutes a game this past season; which was 14th among Detroit regulars. He also has a history of concussions to consider and his aggro style can lead to injuries.
With the salary cap stagnating, will this cost Detroit in the near future, or is Helm the sort of key cog every team needs one of?