Wings commit to Darren Helm for five years, continue confusing offseason

Today, it was announced that Darren Helm re-signed with the Red Wings for a five-year deal worth an annual average value of $3.85 million.

Wait, what?

Darren Helm has been a serviceable member of the Red Wings for, well, 11 years now. Picked up in the 2005 Draft, he’s never been a member of any other NHL team.

There’s a lot to like about Darren Helm’s game, for sure. He’s hard-working, gritty, plays the penalty kill at an okay rate.

But let’s not beat around the bush here:

  • Darren Helm is already a 29-year old depth forward.  
  • His career high is 33 points. 
  • He finished 186th in 5v5 scoring rates (points/60) this past year amongst forwards with at least 500 minutes of ice time
  • And he’s committed to the Red Wings for the next five seasons at $3.85 million instead of younger, cheaper, and better options. Neither the length or the price make any real sense in comparison to other available options

Any rationalization of this contract will eventually point to Helm’s long standing future with the team and loyalty.

Unfortunately for Ken Holland, I don’t think he’s discovered that you’re only required to be loyal to your players while they’re under contract with your team.

The implications of this deal aren’t likely to be devastating in the way that they’ll cost the Wings a star player in the future, but they’ve committed themselves a roster spot and a considerable chunk of their cap space for the next five seasons (or a salary dump trade in like, three-four years) for no real reason at all.