By Ryan Zuke –
The Detroit Red Wings made their first signing of the off-season today, locking down one of their top penalty-killers and defensive forwards in Darren Helm.
The club announced a new four-year deal for Helm, which TSN’s Darren Dreger has reported to be for $8.5 million. Helm was a restricted free agent at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season.
Helm, 25, had 26 points in 68 games last season before injuring his knee on Mar. 17 against San Jose. He returned to the lineup for Game 1 of the playoffs, but suffered a cut to his right arm which kept him out for the remainder of series against Nashville.
Helm notched a career-high 12 goals and 32 points in 2010-11, and he has become a key fixture on the Wings penalty-kill unit. He has 83 points in 248 career games and is a plus-3.
The Red Wings will now shift their attention to restricted free agents Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey, along with unrestricted players Jiri Hudler, Tomas Holmstrom, and Ty Conklin. They are also expected to be very active in the free agency market come July 1, or active on the trade front.