Born in St. Andrews, Manitoba, Helm played three years of junior hockey with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League. He scored 41 goals and 79 points in 2005-06, and 25 goals and 64 points the following season when Medicine Hat reached the 2007 Memorial Cup final before losing to Vancouver.
Helm was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the fifth round (No. 132) of the 2005 NHL Draft. After play the bulk of 2007-08, his first pro season, with Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League, Helm was a late-season call-up by the Red Wings, played seven regular-season games and had four points (two goals, two assists) to help Detroit win its 11th Stanley Cup title.