Darren Helm

Darren Helm re-signs with Detroit; four years, $8.5 million


The Detroit Red Wings are destined to be big players in free agency this summer, but they got things off to a start today by taking care of one of their own.

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.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.