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Winged Pride will openly admit that we are extremely surprised that Darren Helm is playing hockey. He had a mysterious back injury that they couldn't diagnose and that they couldn't correct. Winged Pride had thought he was done and that he wasn't coming back. However he is back and he is producing offense like he wasn't able to before his injury. Is this the new Helm? Probably not. However it is extremely encouraging to see him play with this much offensive ability.
But there are some aspects of Helm's game that are extremely frightening to me. Firstly, he isn't playing good defense. He is missing his defensive assignments and getting beat when he shouldn't. Helm is also struggling on the transition from defense to offense. It seems that he is having trouble reading the opposition and seeing the rink. Seeing the rink is about as vital a skill as one can have in the NHL. The game moves so quickly, lanes open and close with such speed that you have to see it before it opens and you have to hit the lane before it closes. The best players do this.
Helm's biggest asset is his ability to create space with his speed. Since Helm's return he has been unable to control the puck. The eye test tells me that Helm has more turnovers than any other Red Wing on the team. His inability to keep the puck is going to be something that will come back to bite this team. With such a young defensive core and a very pedestrian Jimmy Howard it is very hard for this team to overcome turnovers like that. They have enough turnovers and mistakes as it is. Helm has to control the puck better.
We don't want to sound like we are souring on Helm. His speed and penalty killing abilities are a great asset and this team can benefit from him. He is still a premier third line center. Once Weiss gets back to his usual level Helm should return back to the third line. The third line should be extremely lethal with Tatar and most likely Abdelkader joining them. Tatar and Helm have a lot of speed and it could allow them to create a lot of odd man rushes and opportunities that the combination of Sammy, Cleary, and Weiss(the third line in the last game) just aren't going to get.
Helm is doing a good job as the 2nd line center. But Winged Pride is more than ready to go back to Weiss, Alfredsson, and Franzen.