Red Wings Sign Forward Darren Helm to Four-Year Extension
The Detroit Red Wings have signed speedy forward Darren Helm to a four-year extension worth $8.5 million.
"It's definitely nice that they see me as a player that deserves that," Helm said. "I'm very happy with this. It's nice to know where I'm going to be the next four years."
Helm could have turned free agent July 1 but there was no doubt that the Red Wings would allow a key part of their team to leave.
Helm suffered a knee injury in mid-March and a cut to his forearm cost him Game 1 of the playoffs.
"It was a huge loss for us when he went out," general manager Ken Holland said. "We think he's an elite third-line center. This deal takes him two years into unrestricted free agency. He's a big part of our transition - we've been an older team, and we want to stay competitive and part of that is relying more on younger players. Darren is part of that."
Aside from his contribution to defense, Helm has also contributed offensively for the Red Wings, topping 10 goals in two of the past three seasons, and reaching nine goals in 68 games this past season.
He also appeared in 41 playoff games for the Red Wings during back-to-back trips to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and 2009.
Holland is working on the last two pending restricted free agents, forward Justin Abdelkader and defenseman Kyle Quincey, signed to new deals, and has had talks with pending unrestricted free agent forward Jiri Hudler.
The Wings will have less than $20 million available when free agency begins July 1, aside from the $5 million a year allotted for Abdelkader and Quincey combined.
Detroit will try to pursue a top-end forward, like Zach Parise, as well as elite defenseman Ryan Suter. The Red Wings are also interested in getting the services of superstar Rick Nash from Columbus.
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