Helm has been bothered by back problems this season and played in one game, Jan. 25 against the Minnesota Wild.
"He's not going to play hockey … this year, I don't think," Babcock said after the team's practice Tuesday. "So we've got to get ourselves into the playoffs and be ready to go without him."
The 26-year-old has 32 goals and 83 points in 249 career regular-season games as well as 10 goals and 16 points in 65 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He was a member of the 2008 and '09 Detroit teams that went to the Final, with Helm providing two goals and four points for the '08 team that beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games for the Cup.
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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