Red Wings forward Darren Helm’s struggles with injury will continue into this season.
Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports the speedy center will begin the season on long-term injured reserve thanks to separate groin and back issues. Being on LTIR means being out of action for 24 days or 10 games and GM Ken Holland isn’t sure how soon he’ll be available.
“We believe Helm will be back in three weeks,” he says. Given how slow his progress has been since getting hurt last year, there’s all the reason in the world to be skeptical.
There is a blessing in disguise of sorts for Detroit, however, as they’ve got a glut of forwards and need to get below the salary cap. Helm going on LTIR will eventually help both parts of that equation although he can’t go on LTIR until the season starts.
One of Vancouver’s two first-round picks from the 2013 draft will be sticking with the team, but it may not be the one you’re expecting.
The London Knights announced that ninth overall section Bo Horvat was re-assigned to their team by the Canucks. Horvat was not at today’s practice in Vancouver leading to speculation he was headed back. 26th overall pick Hunter Shinkaruk will be sticking around.
While the two players were both thought to be staying in Vancouver as recently as yesterday, plans may have changed for the Canucks after acquiring Zac Dalpe from the Carolina Hurricanes late last night.
According to Brad Ziemer of the Vancouver Sun, Canucks GM Mike Gillis views Dalpe as a guy who can play at center, the same position Horvat plays. Shinkaruk, meanwhile, will at least get a nine-game peek to see what he can do. As a winger, there’s more flexibility to fit him into the lineup.
Last season saw Kings rookie Tyler Toffoli make a strong impression both late in the year and in the playoffs. Now he’s going to start this season in the AHL.
Los Angeles announced they’re sending Toffoli, along with fellow forwards Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson, to AHL Manchester to get their roster down to 24 men. The team placed defenseman Jeff Schultz on waivers earlier in the day.
Toffoli was a late-season call-up for the Kings last year and he provided an offensive spark with five points in 10 games. In the postseason he stepped up even more with two goals and four assists in 12 games.
This time around, it appears coach Darryl Sutter is going with a heavier, more physical lineup with Daniel Carcillo, Dwight King, and Jordan Nolan sticking around. Replacing Dustin Penner with guys who hit and agitate more makes for a curious decision.
Tampa Bay’s 2013 first-round pick won’t be winning the Calder Trophy this year.
The Lightning announced they’re sending third overall pick Jonathan Drouin back to his junior team in Halifax. Just yesterday we shared here how GM Steve Yzerman had a difficult decision on whether to keep their hot prospect or send him back. Clearly the team feels it’s better for his development to head back to the QMJHL.
Some fans may get critical of the move, but it’s one that can work out and the Lightning just need to look across the state for a prime example of that.
Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t join the Panthers immediately after being drafted in 2011, but he turned his first NHL season last year into a Calder Trophy-winning one. Lightning fans may want to see just what they got for such a bad season last year but they’ll have to be patient.
As for Drouin, the rest of the QMJHL should be terrified to see him back after the numbers he put up last season (41-64-105) in 49 games.
Jannik Hansen is cashing in with the Vancouver Canucks.
The team announced they’ve signed the Danish winger to a four-year extension. TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports the deal has a cap hit of $2.5 million, good for $10 million in all.
Hansen has been a steady player over his six seasons in Vancouver. Last year saw him break out a bit offensively putting up 27 points in 47 games including 10 goals. Two seasons ago saw him post career-highs in goals (16) and points (39).
He earned more time on ice and responsibilities last season, however, and is now one of their key players moving ahead. Now he’s set up to play alongside a healthy Ryan Kesler, his opportunities to contribute more offense will be there.
Curiously enough, his deal matches the one Vancouver signed Chris Higgins to back in April.