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Red Wings re-sign Helm to 4-year contract at average of $2.125 million (plus mid-day news)

Updated 6x with officially official confirmation at 12:51 PM: Via Paul, the Wings have knocked one of their three restricted free agent signings off the list by re-signing Darren Helm, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger:

Darren Helm agrees to 4 year, $8.5 deal in Detroit.

That’s $2.125 million per season..

Update: MLive’s Ansar Khan confirms:

Wings have re-signed Darren Helm to four-year deal worth $8.5 million

And, to quote Capgeek:

With Darren Helm signed, the #NHL #RedWings still have $24.1m in cap space with 19 roster players under contract. http://www.capgeek.com/charts.php?Team=15

Update #2: The Free Press’s Helene St. James confirms…

Good, if expected, news for the #RedWings: Forward Darren Helm locked up for next 4 years with $8.5 million deal ($1.125 mill cap hit).
...
Make that $2.125 mill cap hit for Helm.
...
IMO: This is excellent deal for both sides - Helm doubles his salary, Wings get speedy checker & 10-12 goal scorer for little over $2 mill

And TSN’s story explains why the Wings may have overpaid a bit to lock up Helm and his offensive potential:

Darren Helm has agreed to terms on a four-year, $8.5 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

Last season, Helm scored nine goals and added 17 assists for 26 points in 68 games.

Helm was slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1.

Update #3: The Wings are confirming via Twitter:

BREAKING NEWS: The #Wings have agreed to a four-year contract with Darren Helm.

Update #3.5: The Detroit News’s Ted Kulfan confirms as well:

Helm agrees to four-year deal with the Red Wings; RFA should be ready for training camp - lacerated forearm tendon in Game 1 vs. Nashville

Update #4: St. James has a story up now:

The Detroit Red Wings have locked up forward Darren Helm for the next four years, securing the services of their fastest forward.

The deal is worth $8.5 million, or $2.125 million per season against the cap.

Helm, 25, was a pending restricted free agent, and there never was doubt that the Wings would keep him. Over the past three seasons, he has become a key part of the penalty killing. At even strength, he brings speed and tenacious forechecking. Coach Mike Babcock decried the decreased functionality of the entire bottom six group of forwards after Helm was lost to a knee injury in mid-March and again after he was lost in Game 1 of the playoffs because of a cut to his forearm.

In addition to his staunch play in his own zone, Helm has shown himself capable of contributing offensively, topping 10 goals in two of the past three seasons, and reaching nine goals in 68 games this past season.

His signing brings the Wings to 12 forwards under contract for 2012-13, but that doesn’t mean much at the moment. They will pursue adding a top-end forward—such as Zach Parise—on July 1, and may well end up deciding Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak don’t fit into the future in Detroit.

Update #4.5: MLive’s Ansar Khan, via RedWingsFeed, is confirming, too:

The Detroit Red Wings and center Darren Helm have agreed to a four-year deal worth $8.5 million, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger.

The Red Wings have not yet announced the deal, and team officials couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Helm, scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 1, earned $1 million in 2011-12. His new contract would have a salary-cap hit of $2.125 million.

More details shortly.

Update #4.75: Ditto from DetroitRedWings.com’s Bill Roose:

#RedWings have agreed to a new four-year contract for speedy, hard-checking forward Darren Helm. Other details are not available yet.


Update #4.85: I’m starting to think that Pro Hockey Talk’s Joe Yerdon really doesn’t like the Wings at all:

Darren Dreger of TSN reports the Wings have re-signed center Darren Helm to a four-year, $8.5 million deal to keep him in town as their grind line terror. Helm’s deal works out to a $2.125 million cap hit. Helm is a third line player for Detroit and while paying him just over $2 million a year might seem high, Colorado is paying David Jones $4 million a season to play on their third line.

Last season, Helm scored nine goals and added 17 assists in 68 games and had a career-high 12 goals two seasons ago. He’s not asked to contribute big offense but rather to help contain opposing forwards and perform on the penalty kill. If he ever figured out how to finish on breakaways, Helm’s speed would make him a huge threat shorthanded. As it is, Detroit is apparently more than happy with what they get out of him now.

Update #4.9: Here’s Ted Kulfan’s Helm story:

The Red Wings have come to terms with forward Darren Helm on a four-year contract worth $8.5 million, TSN reported.

Helm, who could have become a restricted free agent July 1, played in 68 games last season, scoring 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists). He missed much of the end of the season with a left knee sprain.

Helm returned for the start of the playoffs, only to suffer a torn left forearm tendon in Game 1 against Nashville.

Helm is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in September.

Update #4.95: From St. James:

Helm tells FP: “It’s def. nice that they see me as a player that deserves that. I’m happy to know where I’m going to be the next 4 years.”

Update #4.99: And CBS Detroit and Michigan Hockey Now’s Ryan Zuke’s Helm report posted superb large-size, high-quality Helm images.

 


Update #5: More on Helm....

• From the Macomb Daily’s Chuck Pleiness...

Darren Helm today signed a four-year, $8.25 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Helm, who would have become a restricted free agent on July 1, returns to a team for which he scored 26 points in 68 games played last season.

Helm, a speedy third-line center, missed the last four games of the 2011 playoffs with a lacerated forearm. He is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp in September.

• And Helene St. James:

Helm tells FP: “It’s def. nice that they see me as a player that deserves that. I’m happy to know where I’m going to be the next 4 years.”
...
Bertuzzi on Helm returning: “He drives me to be better seeing him walk around shirtless with a 9-pack and you’re only supposed to have 6.”

Sneaking in some mid-day news:

• The Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner ponders Curt Fraser’s legacy with the Grand Rapids Griffins;

• WZZM 13 reports that the Griffins are also holding a “Lids at the Library” event today at 2 PM;

• MLive’s Ansar Khan profiled Justin Schultz as a potential free agent target, joining Ted Kulfan in the, “Well, it’s not likely, but possible that the Wings could sign the 6’2,” 185-pound defenseman” category:

Strengths: A highly skilled offensive defenseman, analysts like Schultz’s hockey sense, his skating, his ability to move the puck and his tremendous shot.

Weaknesses: Like most young players, he needs to add muscle to his frame and play with more grit.

Notable: Anaheim’s exclusive negotiating window with Schultz will expire on Sunday. He is not expected to sign with the Ducks. He can begin talks with any team after the weekend but can’t sign until July 1.

Why he would interest the Red Wings: A talented, young defenseman would interest anybody. Many analysts believe Schultz will be one of the most sought after free agents on July 1, perhaps behind only Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

How he could fit in with the Red Wings: Detroit values puck-moving defensemen and has only one defenseman who shoots right (Ian White). But if Schultz insists on playing in the NHL next season, he might not get that guarantee from the Red Wings. They prefer their players earn a roster spot, not be handed one. And if the Red Wings sign a veteran free-agent defenseman (they surely will), they will have seven NHL defensemen, including rookie Brendan Smith (Schultz’s teammate at Wisconsin for one season). Would Schultz be willing to spend a season with the Grand Rapids Griffins when some other teams probably would hand him an NHL job?

What it might take to get him: Maybe an assurance that he’ll be on the NHL roster in 2012-13. Money isn’t an issue, since he would get virtually the same deal wherever he goes. The maximum entry-level contract for a 22-year-old is two years for $925,000 per season with a standard 10 percent ($92,500) signing bonus each year. Players may also negotiate performance bonuses.

• Via Paul, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Jeremy Rutherford claims that the Blues are a dark-horse candidate to sign Ryan Suter, but, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is leaning toward making trades instead of signing free agents, according to the Raleigh News & Observer’s Chip Alexander;

• Via RWF, looking forward, short-term version, from the Free Press’s sports staff:

Pavel Datsyuk will be the lone Detroit Red Wing up for honors when the NHL Awards show airs at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the NBC Sports Network and CBC. Datysuk is in the running for best defensive forward.

Ceremonies will take place at the Encore Theater at Wynn in Las Vegas.

Here are the finalists for the key awards:

HART (MVP): Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers; Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins; Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning.

VEZINA (top goaltender): Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers; Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings; Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators.

SELKE (top defensive forward): David Backes, St. Louis Blues; Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins; Pavel Datsyuk, Red Wings.

LADY BYNG (skill and sportsmanship): Brian Campbell, Florida Panthers; Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers; Matt Moulson, New York Islanders.

CALDER (top rookie): Adam Henrique, New Jersey Devils; Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche; Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton Oilers.

NORRIS (top defenseman): Zdeno Chara, Boston Bruins; Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators; Shea Weber, Nashville Predators.

MASTERTON (perseverance and dedication): Daniel Alfredsson, Ottawa Senators; Joffrey Lupul, Toronto Maple Leafs; Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens. (Pacioretty is a Michigan alumnus.)

JACK ADAMS (top coach): Ken Hitchcock, St. Louis Blues; Paul MacLean, Ottawa Senators; John Tortorella, New York Rangers.

• Looking back while looking forward, Yahoo Sports’ Neate Sager notes that the Wings snagged a solid second-round “gem” last year in one Ryan Sproul…

Ryan Sproul (55th, Detroit Red Wings) — The 6-foot-3 offensive defenceman was at best an outside possibility for the first round, but the Wings got a steal when they took him near the end of the second. Sproul was only an even 6-foot when the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds made him a sixth-round selection in the OHL priority selection draft. He dallied with going the NCAA route, had a growth spurt, adapted to his new body and became a force in the second half of his age-17 season with the ‘Hounds. Sproul earned OHL all-star recognition this season, which is hardly an easy task for a defenceman on a ninth-place team.

The Wings hope to land a similar talent that falls out of the first round at the draft on Saturday;

• And here’s your Predators GM David Poile continuing to have something of a hissy fit about Ryan Suter update of the day, per the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox:

Poile won’t, however, trade Suter’s rights before he hits unrestricted free agency on July 1, hoping that gesture and the rearguard’s history in Nashville will persuade him to stay with the Preds.

“It’s a nervous situation, for sure,” said Poile. “We’ve just got to keep the faith. I’m getting my arms around the fact that as we get closer to July 1 he’s going to take a peek at free agency.”

 

Update #4.25: A bit more from Helm via St. James:

The deal is worth $8.5 million, or $2.125 million per season against the cap.

“It’s definitely nice that they see me as a player that deserves that,” Helm told the Free Press. “I’m very happy with this. It’s nice to know where I’m going to be the next four years.”


Update #4.3: Here’s Khan’s explanation as to why the Wings haven’t put our a press release yet:

The Red Wings have not yet announced the deal because they are waiting for the paperwork to be filed, which should happen later this afternoon.

Helm was scheduled to become a restricted free agent on July 1. He earned $1 million in 2011-12. His new contract has a salary-cap hit of $2.125 million.

The third-line center is valued for his speed, forechecking and physical play. He had nine goals and 17 assists in 2011-12 and was sorely missed after suffering a sprained left MCL on March 17, which idled him for the rest of the regular season.

Helm, 25, suffered lacerated tendons in his right forearm in Game 1 of the Western Conference quarterfinals at Nashville, when he was cut by Alexander Radulov’s skate. It was Helm’s first game back from the knee injury and it ended his season.

It was a huge blow for the Red Wings, since Helm usually elevates his game in the playoffs.

Helm, selected in the fifth round of the 2005 draft (132nd overall), has 32 goals and 83 points in 248 career regular season games. He has 10 goals and 16 points in 65 playoff games.

: From USA Today’s Kevin Allen:

Helm’s $8.5 million over 4 means, even after re-signing Abdelkader, the Red Wings will have roughly $20 million to pursue Suter, Parise, etc

Update #6: From St. James:

Remaining RFAs for #RedWings: F Abdelkader, D Quincey. Est. $5 mill for those 2, little under $20 mill left in cap room

And WXYZ’s Tom Leyden:

#RedWings announce signing of Darren Helm to four-year deal. $8.5 million for a guy Mike Babcock really likes a lot. Details to follow.

Here’s Leyden’s story...

Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the club has agreed to terms with forward Darren Helm on a four-year contract. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Helm, 25, was originally a fifth-round selection (132nd overall) of the Red Wings in the 2005 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He appeared in 68 games for the Red Wings in 2011-12, finishing the season with 26 points (9G-17A-26P) and 12 PIM.

Helm missed 14 games due to injury, including the final 10 games of the season with a knee sprain suffered on March 17 at San Jose. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native returned for Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Nashville Predators, but played only 3:08 before suffering lacerated tendons in his right forearm after being struck by an opponent’s skate in the first period.

The 5-11, 195-lb. forward is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of training camp in September.

“Darren is an important part of our team and we’re very happy that we’ve reached an agreement,” said Holland. “He’s one of the fastest skaters in the game and we love the physical element that he brings. He’s an outstanding penalty killer and the ideal third line center for us behind Pavel (Datsyuk) and Henrik (Zetterberg). We really missed him when he was out of the lineup in March and April.”

And Leyden is quoting extensively from the Wings’ official press release confirming the deal.

From Todd Beam:

Red Wings Executive Vice President and General Manager Ken Holland today announced that the club has agreed to terms with forward Darren Helm on a four-year contract. In accordance with team policy, additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Helm, 25, was originally a fifth-round selection (132nd overall) of the Red Wings in the 2005 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He appeared in 68 games for the Red Wings in 2011-12, finishing the season with 26 points (9G-17A-26P) and 12 PIM. Helm missed 14 games due to injury, including the final 10 games of the season with a knee sprain suffered on March 17 at San Jose. The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native returned for Game One of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Nashville Predators, but played only 3:08 before suffering lacerated tendons in his right forearm after being struck by an opponent’s skate in the first period. The 5-11, 195-lb. forward is expected to make a full recovery in time for the start of training camp in September.

“Darren is an important part of our team and we’re very happy that we’ve reached an agreement,” said Holland. “He’s one of the fastest skaters in the game and we love the physical element that he brings. He’s an outstanding penalty killer and the ideal third line center for us behind Pavel (Datsyuk) and Henrik (Zetterberg). We really missed him when he was out of the lineup in March and April.”

Helm is entering his fourth full season with the team. He played in just 16 regular season games for the Red Wings from 2007-09, but appeared in 41 postseason games during that same span and was an important part of Detroit’s 2008 Stanley Cup championship run and its return to the Stanley Cup Final in 2009. Helm’s career numbers include 248 games played, 83 points (32G-51A-83P) and 52 PIM. In 65 career postseason games, he’s collected 16 points (10G-6A-16P) and 18 PIM.

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Comments

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Avatar

I didn’t think Abdelkader showed a whole lot this year, for most of it at least. He shouldn’t be making anywhere near what Helm does. He should be right in there with miller and eaves, about $1M/yr, if you ask me.

Posted by teldar on 06/19/12 at 05:03 PM ET

Nate A's avatar

Posted by teldar on 06/19/12 at 03:03 PM ET

Agreed. I like Abby just fine, but between him, Miller and Eaves, Abby is the most replaceable of the three.

I’m a fan of the Helm deal. Even if you feel its a borderline overpayment today, all he’s gotta do is continue with the incremental offensive improvements and he’ll be a bargain.

Posted by Nate A from Detroit-ish on 06/19/12 at 06:16 PM ET

Avatar

People need to slow their roll with regards to Helm.  Again, I think the deal is okay, but it is a little high.  And no, that doesn’t make me crazy.

I’ve read a few people talk about Helm’s ‘offensive upside’ as though it’s a given.  It’s really, really not.  Since starting to play in leagues with a fairly high level of goaltending and defense across the board, Helm has 61 goals in 370 games.  There’s nothing remotely resembling an upward trend in Helm’s goalscoring at the NHL level, either.

11 in 75.
12 in 82.
9 in 68.

And there’s a very strong chance that at age 25 going on 26 this upcoming season that he is what he is offensively.

As a man-on-man defender he’s also less than stellar.  Perhaps better than average, but not by much.  His defensive utility is more a function of his ability to take a turnover up the ice on a break than it is a function of sound positioning.

It’s an okay deal.  There’s a chance (a less than 50% one, but a chance nonetheless) Helm can grow past it.  There’s also a really strong chance that 4 years from now we’re looking at a guy who has put up between 10-15 goals and 30ish points a year with a faceoff percentage in the 51 percent range.

That’s a lot to pay for that kind of player.  Sami Pahlsson’s a much better version of Helm, and he only made 2.65.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/19/12 at 07:20 PM ET

NIVO's avatar

Awesome deal. Worth every penny for Helmer. Heres to you Darren(raises glass) being a career Winger!

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 06/19/12 at 07:37 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

And there’s a very strong chance that at age 25 going on 26 this upcoming season that he is what he is offensively.

Just like when Valtteri Filppula was 25 going on 26 and put up a 52-point pace in a season he only played 55 games.  Remember when Filppula never scored more than 52 points?

Good on him for overcoming the VERY STRONG CHANCE that a player never improves on his production after turning 26. Like when Pavel Datsyuk went from scoring 87 points at age 27 to score 97 in consecutive years thereafter. Or when Henrik Zetterberg overcame his very strong chance that he would never score more than the 68 points he put up as a 26-year old to heroically put up more points in EVERY SINGLE SEASON SINCE THEN.

Maybe when Kris Draper’s 13 points in 76 games at the age of 26 was the lowest 82-game average output of his entire career?

Good thing we’ve got the voice of reason around to tell us how to feel with his cold, hard facts.

Maybe next you can tell us how inflation works while explaining Sami Pahlsson’s cap hit being 4.67% of the cap at the time he signed while Helm’s is 3%

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/19/12 at 07:41 PM ET

awould's avatar

Pahlsson? You’re kidding. In his 11 seasons, he’s had 2 seasons in the plus. He’s scored 20+ pts 5 times in his career. His career average is 18 pts per season. He’s 10 years older than Helm. He’s no where near as fast. Pahlsson avg 0.25 ppg, Helm avg 0.33 ppg.

If the world were fair, they would switch contracts.

This is a great deal for Helm. I suspect the Wings view Helm as a potential 40 pt per season guy who will lead by example.

Posted by awould on 06/19/12 at 08:08 PM ET

Avatar

Just like when Valtteri Filppula was 25 going on 26 and put up a 52-point pace in a season he only played 55 games.  Remember when Filppula never scored more than 52 points?

And wouldn’t have again had he not been on a line with two great offensive players?

It’s not like Fil took and overall leap forward this year, really.  His points per game increased over last year (but not substantially over two years ago) mostly as a result of both increased IT/g and better linemates.

He was better, yes, but not in the way that makes me think 23 and 43 are fair expectations for him.

That aside, you appear to be trying to make the case that I think there is no chance of Helm developing.  Since I explicitly said otherwise, I don’t know why that is.  As a general rule, guys are who they are by age 25.  There are always exceptions.  Also, there are always issues of vastly increased usage, which you are conflating with improvement.  And actual NHL experience.

But hey, if you want to compare Helm’s offensive trends to those of Fil or Datsyuk or Z… knock yourself out.  I’d love to see how you correlate them.

Maybe next you can tell us how inflation works while explaining Sami Pahlsson’s cap hit being 4.67% of the cap at the time he signed while Helm’s is 3%

Why do you think you are making a point here?  Pahlsson is a better player.  That his contract takes up a greater % of the cap is a feature, not a bug.  Every contract in the NHL will take up a smaller % of the cap over time, at least until the NHL blows up the current arrangement.

Or are you attempting to make the case that Pahlsson’s going to sign for less than Helm’s 2.125?

Pahlsson? You’re kidding. In his 11 seasons, he’s had 2 seasons in the plus. He’s scored 20+ pts 5 times in his career. His career average is 18 pts per season. He’s 10 years older than Helm. He’s no where near as fast. Pahlsson avg 0.25 ppg, Helm avg 0.33 ppg.

Pahlsson is a markedly better defender, a substantially better PKer, and a wildly better faceoff guy.  Helm is much faster and is a significantly more productive offensive player.  For the role we are talking about (third line center), IMO Pahlsson’s far superior.

If we’re playing make-believe candyland games about mythical, mystical point totals Helm might produce in the future, though… enh.  .32, .39 and .38 points per game in his first three years in identical roles with nearly identical IT and linemates doesn’t strike me as a trend which suggests magically going all they way up to half a point per game.

If he gets shuffled up to the second line or something, then sure.  The same is true of anybody, though.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/19/12 at 09:31 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Every contract in the NHL will take up a smaller % of the cap over time

Which is why I compared what the cap percentage was of Pahlsson’s contract when he signed versus when Helm signed.  I thought I had made that simple to understand. My apologies.

Point being that Pahlsson was a more well-respected player when he signed and therefore he signed for an amount which is bigger comparatively in every way to the amount for which Helm signed. Pahlsson was a better-known commodity then and got paid more then. Using Pahlsson as a comparable as to why Helm got overpaid doesn’t make any sense.

you appear to be trying to make the case that I think there is no chance of Helm developing

No, I’m making the point that saying “very strong chance” when “decent chance” is the correct wording is needlessly overstating things… just like in previous discussions where you’ve confused better-than-average with mediocre.

But hey, if you want to compare Helm’s offensive trends to those of Fil or Datsyuk or Z… knock yourself out.  I’d love to see how you correlate them.

Well there’s always Draper, who is the most-similar player for comparison and had his lowest-career output in the year which you said will likely set his average.

Regardless of all that, even if Helm ONLY puts up around 30 points for each of the next four years, as long as he continues to bring that which is tangible and intangible to the Red Wings like he has, he will have been worth it.

Slow your roll, indeed.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/19/12 at 10:00 PM ET

Michiru Kaioh's avatar

Count me in amongst those who find this to be a total steal. His offensive game has steadily improved, and he’s a selke caliber defensive player with great speed and physicality. Considering the types of contracts that are out there in recent years, this looks like absolute gold. Not taking much cap space there for a very valuable player.

Posted by Michiru Kaioh on 06/19/12 at 11:21 PM ET

awould's avatar

Pahlsson is a markedly better defender, a substantially better PKer, and a wildly better faceoff guy.  Helm is much faster and is a significantly more productive offensive player.  For the role we are talking about (third line center), IMO Pahlsson’s far superior.

Wildly better faceoff guy:
According to NHL.com, in 2012 Pahlsson averaged about 52.62% to Helm’s 51.91%. This difference equates to 7 extra faceoff wins over 1,000 faceoffs. Say Pahlsson’s peak average was closer to 53.5% and it’s still not a whole lot better.

Markedly better defender:
Pahlsson’s career +/- is -70, averaging -6.4/season. His best was +10. He’s had 18 shorty points.
Helm’s career +/- is +3, averaging +0.60/season. His best was +9. He’s got 6 shorty points. If you ignore his first 2 years when he played only 23 games, it’s +12, +4 avg with 6 shorty points in 3 seasons.

Production:
Pahlsson has 199 pts, or 0.25 ppg over his career. About 18 pts per season.
Helm has 83 pts, or 0.34 ppg over his career. About 16 pts per season. But again, take out the first two years and it is 82 pts or 0.37 ppg and about 28 pts per season.

In what world is Pahlsson far superior? Your idea of a better 3rd line center is someone who gives up more goals while on the ice, scores less but wins an extra faceoff every 8-10 games? Talk about make-believe candyland. Based on Pahlsson’s deal, the Helm contract is starting to look like steal. The problem though is that Pahlsson was overpaid, not Helm. Maybe that’s why he’s out of the NHL now.

Posted by awould on 06/19/12 at 11:27 PM ET

Avatar

Maybe that’s why he’s out of the NHL now.

Come on now, all the guy is saying is that if Darren Helm gets a bit better he might be good enough to play in the Swedish Elite League in a decade…

Posted by Garth on 06/20/12 at 12:50 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

all I know is that there are sixty-some frickin’ comments here…What’s going on? Why are you arguing? Can you keep it down to a dull roar and please avoid personal attacks?

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/20/12 at 01:18 AM ET

Avatar

Which is why I compared what the cap percentage was of Pahlsson’s contract when he signed versus when Helm signed.  I thought I had made that simple to understand. My apologies.

Aside from your comment being completely tangential, I understood it.

Point being that Pahlsson was a more well-respected player when he signed and therefore he signed for an amount which is bigger comparatively in every way to the amount for which Helm signed. Pahlsson was a better-known commodity then and got paid more then. Using Pahlsson as a comparable as to why Helm got overpaid doesn’t make any sense.

Only if you have a difficult time understanding relative compensation, which it appears you do.

In other words, even under today’s cap Pahlsson would be worth a larger piece of the cap pie than Helm.  Trying to gin up some cover by pointing out Pahlsson’s deal was signed previously, while technically true, is wholly beside the point.

Yes, obviously there are differences between the futures of each player due to the significant spread in their ages, so it’s not like I’m advocating for Detroit to go out and sign a Pahlsson type to a 4 year deal through age 39 or something.

What I am doing, however, is pointing out some differences between the play of a guy who is alleged to be an elite 3rd line center to a guy who actually was/is.

Well there’s always Draper, who is the most-similar player for comparison and had his lowest-career output in the year which you said will likely set his average.

As this point escaped you I will re-state it in an attempt to pierce the veil of confusion:

“Also, there are always issues of vastly increased usage, which you are conflating with improvement. “

At ages 24-26, which is the time frame we’re talking about here, Draper was hardly being used in Detroit.  Especially at ages 24 and 25.  Obviously, when someone isn’t really even playing a whole lot it’s awfully hard to draw a ton of conclusions about what they are or are not at the NHL level, production wise.  It’s even more troublesome to index future statistic expectation off of those years of limited play time.

However, by the time Drapes played 2-4 full time years in Detroit we had a pretty good grasp on what he was, even though by the time he had those years he was past 25.

Helm, having been a full time guy in Detroit for three full years now, doesn’t have that same cloud of uncertainty around him at age 25 that Draper did at age 25.  We’ve seen him more at the same stage in his career, so we can be more certain about what he is.

Same deal with Hudler.  Or Fil.  Or Kronwall.  Or Howard.  They’ve all played 2-4 full time years in Detroit and we all have a pretty good idea about what they are and are not.  Is it impossible that a guy we know pretty well could have a hot year or even two?  Of course not.  Happens all the time all over the league.  However, guys very often revert to their mean and that mean is what you should be indexing contract to, not some supposed level of future performance assuming improvement.

Regardless of all that, even if Helm ONLY puts up around 30 points for each of the next four years, as long as he continues to bring that which is tangible and intangible to the Red Wings like he has, he will have been worth it.

I tend to disagree, albeit only slightly.  As I said, the contract is okay, mostly, it’s just a bit high.  My disagreement with you over Helm’s worth most likely comes from us having different valuations of his defensive performance and his faceoff performance.  IMO were he to perform in both of those areas as he has to date, I don’t think he’d be worth the deal even if he hits 30 points routinely.

According to NHL.com, in 2012 Pahlsson averaged about 52.62% to Helm’s 51.91%. This difference equates to 7 extra faceoff wins over 1,000 faceoffs. Say Pahlsson’s peak average was closer to 53.5% and it’s still not a whole lot better.

This year Pahlsson’s % was 52.6.  Last year it was 52.0.  2010’s 52.9.  2009’s was 53.5.

Helm’s numbers in his three years are 51.9, 52.6 and 51.1.  And Pahlsson is taking Draper-like quantities of faceoffs, too.

That aside, when you’re talking about faceoff wins you aren’t really talking about the statistical range from 0% to 100%, you’re talking about the statistical range from around 43% to around 58%.  Any less than 43% and guys will stop being allowed to take faceoffs regularly, and 58% tends to be real close to the high water mark.  This is relevant because a difference of 1 or 2% in a spread of 0 to 100% isn’t really relevant while a similar spread along a much compressed range is rather moreso.

Pahlsson’s career +/- is -70, averaging -6.4/season. His best was +10. He’s had 18 shorty points.
Helm’s career +/- is +3, averaging +0.60/season. His best was +9. He’s got 6 shorty points. If you ignore his first 2 years when he played only 23 games, it’s +12, +4 avg with 6 shorty points in 3 seasons.

The problem you are having here is that you are indexing defense to plus/minus, something that’s tricky at best.  If a guy scores 5 goals but allows 10 he’s a -5.  If a guy scores 20 but allows 20, he’s a net zero.  In that case which guy was better defensively?

For instance, last year Helm was on the ice for 29 goals against, but 34 goals for.  That gives him the +5.  Pahlsson played on a way inferior team in front of awful goalies, played almost 20% more at ES than Helm did and was on the ice for 32 goals against.  When you talk about defense, as in preventing the other team from scoring a goal, it’s impossible to conclude that Helm had anywhere near the defensive year Pahlsson did last season.

That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. Pahlsson’s played on moderately bad teams for the most part and gets the short end of the + stick, so even though he does a fantastic job relative to his teammates with regards to limiting the -‘s his aggregate numbers are going to be horrendous.

For example, back in 2009 Pahlsson had a -16.  That number sucks and it was the worst of his career.  The problem is, he was only on the ice for 40 ES goals against that whole year.  That’s a lot, but it’s not terribly high.  There were 4 other guys who were on the ice for more goals against at ES, but who all had markedly better aggregate +/-‘s because they were also out there for a bunch of offense.

That’s why these Helm to Draper comparisons are so incredibly unfair to Helm right now.  Draper would put up seasons were he would match up with the other teams scoring lines at ES, he’d play 15+ minutes a night at ES,  and he’d give up ~24 goals in a season.  Helm’s mostly playing against depth lines, playing maybe 10 a night at ES, and he’s giving up ~30.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/20/12 at 01:51 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

Also: Pahlsson decided at the season’s end that he was going to go home and he’s signed with Modo Ornskoldsvik. He wouldn’t be available on the open market anyway.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/20/12 at 01:55 AM ET

Avatar

Come on now, all the guy is saying is that if Darren Helm gets a bit better he might be good enough to play in the Swedish Elite League in a decade…

Yes, obviously a guy signing a contract to play overseas weeks before he could have received his first NHL offer means… he wasn’t going to receive any NHL offers?

Well argued, indeed.  smile

Posted by HockeyinHD on 06/20/12 at 01:58 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I started reading Expressen and Aftonbladet a few weeks before the regular season ended, and even in late March, Pahlsson was talking about going back to Sweden and signing with Modo. His mind was made up waaaaayyyy before free agency.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/20/12 at 02:02 AM ET

awould's avatar

Helm’s numbers in his three years are 51.9, 52.6 and 51.1.  And Pahlsson is taking Draper-like quantities of faceoffs, too.

In 2012, he took on average 2 more faceoffs than Helm total in any given game, including 1 more shorthanded. His win% would net him 7 more faceoffs over 1,000. There’s not a lot of room in there to argue that he’s “far superior”. It’s just not there.

That aside, when you’re talking about faceoff wins you aren’t really talking about the statistical range from 0% to 100%,

I know this. The difference in their stats for 2012 is 7 more wins a year. One percentage point is 10 more faceoff wins a year. This is why Gaustad was so prized, he went 57.3% for 2012. That is “far superior”. The difference between Pahlsson and Helm is nearly insignificant.

The problem you are having here is that you are indexing defense to plus/minus, something that’s tricky at best.

I completely agree. It is problematic, which is why D players are so hard to compare. Witness the Norris Trophy arguments that will start getting heated now that Lidstrom isn’t around to show everyone how it’s done.

But ultimately, a plus/minus is a function of the player’s ability to contribute to his team either in an actual positive way or by avoiding a negative. Your argument seems to be that a guy who scores fewer points and has a lower plus/minus is somehow better than a guy who puts pucks in the net and, partially as a result, has a better plus/minus.

Factoring for number of games played, while on the ice, Helm has 69 total goals against in 68 games while Pahlsson has 80 goals against in 80 games. Not a lot of wiggle room there.

Pahlsson played on a way inferior team in front of awful goalies, played almost 20% more at ES than Helm did…

In 2012, Pahlsson played on average 14:46 minutes per game. Helm played 14:30. Pahlsson played 2:24 even-strength compared to 2:17 for Helm. How’s that 20%? I assume you didn’t factor in that Pahlsson played 12 more games than Helm.

Pahlsson did play on some bunk teams, but he also played on a Stanley Cup winner and his numbers in Anaheim weren’t much better than in Columbus.

So basically, when you look at the actual stats that count on a per game basis, their stats are basically even with Pahlsson getting a very slight edge. But you claim that Helm is slightly overpaid by comparison with Pahlsson. I’m not persuaded.

Posted by awould on 06/20/12 at 02:31 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Trying to gin up some cover by pointing out Pahlsson’s deal was signed previously, while technically true, is wholly beside the point.

No, it was entirely contained within the point. How ridiculous.

At ages 24-26, which is the time frame we’re talking about here, Draper was hardly being used in Detroit.  Especially at ages 24 and 25.

Do you have evidence to support this? What was Draper’s average TOI for those years? Because he still put up more points in 2008-09 when playing only 11:58 per game.  How much less was he used in 1996-97? Did it jump significantly in 97-98 when he played 15 minutes per night?

If it really is a case of usage, then I want to see that

a difference of 1 or 2% in a spread of 0 to 100% isn’t really relevant while a similar spread along a much compressed range is rather moreso.

No it isn’t. awould covers it above, but we’re not interested in ranges here, we’re interested in results. 7 faceoffs in a season is not significant, even if you want to close the percentage range difference to where it looks like a mountain compared to a hill, in the overall scheme of things 7 is not significant over a full season.

When you talk about defense, as in preventing the other team from scoring a goal, it’s impossible to conclude that Helm had anywhere near the defensive year Pahlsson did last season.

When talking about the difference of three goals allowed when Helm was actually out there for a smaller total we can’t POSSIBLY conclude that Helm had ANYWHERE NEAR the defensive year Pahlsson did?

Man, I don’t like to throw the word around a lot, but this if flat-out hyperbole to say.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/20/12 at 10:27 AM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Time to un-subscribe to this pissing match.

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 06/20/12 at 10:34 AM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.