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Wings bring back Helm for 5 years, $19.25M

July 1, 2016 GMT

Detroit – The Red Wings’ first dip into free agency was a familiar one.

Detroit has re-signed forward Darren Helm to a five-year contract worth $19.25 million, the team confirmed to The Detroit News.

Helm’s deal creates a salary-cap hit of $3.85 million per season.

Helm, 29, was a 2005 fifth-round draft pick who has spent his entire career with the Red Wings.

Last season Helm played 77 games, scoring 26 points (13 goals, 13 assists). He scored a career-high 15 goals the season before.

Helm can still play a top-six role, and he’s one of the most effective penalty-killers in the NHL. He can also be used in a bottom-six role because of his defensive ability.

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Red Wings general manager Ken Holland came into Friday’s start to unrestricted free agency with almost $20 million of cap space to spend – although approximately half of that will go toward restricted free agents Danny DeKeyser, Petr Mrazek, Alexey Marchenko and Teemu Pulkkinen.

Signing Helm leaves the Red Wings with about $6-8 million to spend, if they want, in free agency.

Forwards Frans Nielsen, Troy Brouwer, Milan Lucic and Loui Eriksson have been linked with the Red Wings, although there is plenty of competition for each of those players in a thin class of free agents.