Darren Helm skated in his first game with the Detroit Red Wings since last season. Helm only skated in one game last season before his back began to act up again. Before he played last season Helm hadn’t played in a game for the Wings since April 11th.
Helm made his return Saturday night in Edmonton after a lingering back issue kept him out for nearly 19 months. With Helm back in the line up the Detroit Red Wings add yet another offensive weapon to their arsenal. Helm’s speed makes him dangerous to play against, and his defensive abilities and skills in the face off circle make him even more valuable.
Helm skated for just over 10 minutes in his return and scored the opening goal on a break away to give the Wings a 1-0 lead. The Wings would go on to run Edmonton out of their own building 5-0.
If Helm is indeed healthy again, and he played well Saturday night, the Wings roster looks to be even more deadly than it did to begin the season. Helm is a solidified third line center with excellent abilities in killing penalties.
It may be too early to put expectations on Helm, but looking back at when he had played two seasons ago, Helm’s speed created countless opportunities for himself, but he was never able to finish with offensive production. Helm scoring on the breakaway on his first even strength shift in Edmonton brought hope that maybe Helm can create plays for himself and maybe he can finish them.
Helm only logged a few minutes on the ice, but it’s good for him to ease back into playing on a regular basis. There’s no reason for Mike Babcock to force him into games for more than he has to at this point. With the amount of injuries Helm has gone through since April of 2011, there’s no reason for Babcock to put any added pressure on him. Ease him back into the NHL, and let him play his game. I just hope that the signs he gave us on Saturday night continue for the rest of the season.