Darren Helm will play for the first time in 2014 tonight when the Red Wings host the Blues at Joe Louis.
Helm, who had been on IR with a groin injury, hasn’t played since Dec. 30. The layoff marked his second significant stint on the shelf this season, as he also missed 11 games with a shoulder ailment and another 14 with back issue that lingered from the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.
Getting Helm back is a huge boost for Detroit. Mike Babcock often refers to Helm as the best third-line center in the NHL and, in limited games this season, Helm has discovered a real flair for offense. He has 11 points through 16 games, which includes seven goals — pretty impressive for a guy with a career-high of 12.
What’s more, Helm’s speed and forechecking ability should help Detroit gain some extra momentum offensively. The team has struggled to put pucks in the net recently, and has just six goals in its last five games.
Curtis Glencross’ hard-luck preseason continued on Monday, as the Avalanche announced they released him from his training camp tryout.
Glencross had previously been cut from Toronto’s camp, which he described as “kind of a shock” move. Following that release, the 32-year-old quickly shifted to Colorado but arrived fairly late in the overall process, and only got a bit of exposure before being let go.
While some thought yesterday’s trade of Freddie Hamilton to Calgary may have opened up a spot for Glencross, the Avs now appear to be going in a different direction.
A two-time 20-goal scorer that netted 13 in 71 games last year, it’s unclear what lies ahead for Glencross.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.