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.
Washington has been without center Nicklas Backstrom for some time now after getting concussed by then Calgary forward Rene Bourque. With today being the trading deadline and the Caps being short of cap space, they’re putting the play maker on long term injured reserve.
According to Lindsay Applebaum of The Washington Post, the Caps putting Backstrom on LTIR will give them about $7.6 million in salary cap space to work with today and through until he returns to action. There’s no timetable as of yet when, exactly, that will be.
If the Caps make the playoffs and Backstrom returns in time for the postseason, the Caps won’t have to worry about the salary situation anymore as there’s no salary cap in the postseason. Does that mean the Caps dive into the trading pool head first today? Well let’s just say that Rick Nash isn’t about to walk through that door.
The Vancouver Canucks haven’t totally been floating out there in trade rumors leading up to the deadline, but things might be about to change.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reports that the Canucks have put defenseman Keith Ballard on long-term injured reserve. By doing that, Vancouver saves $4.2 million against the salary cap and thus freeing up space to potentially make a big addition at the trade deadline.
The Canucks have already been rumored to be interested in Dallas’ Steve Ott as well as Colorado’s Cody McLeod, but by freeing up this kind of cap space, there are bigger fish to go after. Los Angeles captain Dustin Brown and even Columbus’s Rick Nash are names that are popping up thanks to this new found financial freedom and, why not?
Just picture what Brown or Nash could do riding along with the likes of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler. Making that kind of addition would make the race in the West a lot more difficult for everyone else not named the Canucks in the playoffs. If Canucks GM Mike Gillis wants to become a big player at the deadline, he’s got the ability to do so in a big way.