Helm, Leddy lead crop of ex-Red Wings still alive in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
Photo credit:Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
By Mike Gould6 months ago
Eight teams are out. Eight remain in the hunt.
The first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs is in the books, with the Calgary Flames becoming the final team to make the semifinals with a dramatic Game 7 overtime victory over the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
The Flames joined the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers, and Florida Panthers in qualifying for the second round of the playoffs.
On the flip side of that coin, eight teams are done for the season after being eliminated in the first round. Here’s a quick look at each of those teams, along with the ex-Red Wings in their organization:
- Dallas Stars: Vladislav Namestnikov (F), Jim Nill (GM)
- Minnesota Wild: Jon Merrill (D)
- Nashville Predators: none
- Los Angeles Kings: Andreas Athanasiou (F), Martin Frk (F), Troy Stecher (D)
- Toronto Maple Leafs: Paul MacLean (assistant coach), Petr Mrazek (G)
- Boston Bruins: Tomas Nosek (F), Bruce Cassidy (head coach)
- Pittsburgh Penguins: none
- Washington Capitals: Anthony Mantha (F), Nick Jensen (D)
With only eight teams remaining, the crop of Red Wings alumni still vying for the Stanley Cup has thinned considerably.
Nevertheless, a couple of notable ex-Wings players still stand a pretty good chance of winning it all this year. Let’s check in on them, starting with a member of Detroit’s 2008 championship team.
Remember the Colorado Avalanche?
It feels like it’s been forever since the Avs last played a game. They were the only team to take the minimum amount of time to advance to the second round, dispatching the Nashville Predators in a relatively painless sweep.
Colorado last took to the ice for a game on May 9, defeating the Predators 5–3 to wrap up their four-game quarterfinal series. Helm averaged around 11 minutes per game and did not record a point against Nashville.
During the regular season, Helm scored seven goals and 15 points in 68 games with the Avalanche. While he’s no longer the strong middle-six forward he was at his peak in Detroit, he remains a versatile and experienced defensive player who can chip in with a goal from time to time.
Helm, 35, has 86 games of NHL playoff experience under his belt. He appeared in 18 post-season games with the Red Wings during their 2008 playoff run and 23 games the following spring.
Wouldn’t you know it: Helm is the only member of this loaded Avalanche squad whose name has already been engraved on the Stanley Cup. This might be his last shot at picking up another ring.
The Avalanche will kick off their semifinal series against the St. Louis Blues in Denver on Tuesday.
In terms of significance as a Red Wings alumnus, @Nick Leddy certainly ranks more than a few rungs below Darren Helm.
Leddy, 31, only played a partial season in Detroit colors, logging 55 games with the team to start the 2021–22 campaign before being traded to the St. Louis Blues prior to the deadline.
Despite getting off to a very slow start with the Red Wings (one goal, 16 points in 55 games), Leddy picked up the pace considerably after joining the Blues.
Leddy scored two goals and eight points in 20 appearances with St. Louis to close out the regular season. He added a goal in the deciding Game 6 as the Blues defeated the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs.
Leddy won’t go down in the record books as a Detroit Red Wings legend. He’s far more likely to be remembered for his time in Chicago or on Long Island.
That being said, there’s no other Red Wings alumnus currently playing a larger role for his team in the 2022 playoffs.
Despite missing three of the Blues’ six games in the first round due to injury, Leddy averaged more than 20 minutes per night when healthy and scored the opening goal in the clinching game.
The Blues’ next test will be a big one. The top-seeded Avalanche stand in the way of them advancing to the Western Conference Final.
Here’s a quick team-by-team glance at the ex-Red Wings players, coaches, and executives still competing for the Stanley Cup:
- Calgary Flames: none
- Edmonton Oilers: Ken Holland (GM)
- Colorado Avalanche: Darren Helm (F)
- St. Louis Blues: Nick Leddy (D)
- New York Rangers: Patrik Nemeth (D) Gerard Gallant (head coach)
- Carolina Hurricanes: Brendan Smith (D)
- Tampa Bay Lightning: Gemel Smith (F)
- Florida Panthers: Ulf Samuelsson (assistant coach)
While the Flames technically have former Grand Rapids Griffins forward @Calle Jarnkrok on their roster, they’re the only team still in the hunt without a player or coach who once suited up as a member of the Red Wings.
The second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs will kick off on Tuesday with a pair of games: Tampa Bay/Florida at 7:00 p.m. ET and St. Louis/Colorado at 9:30 p.m. ET.
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