DETROIT – In today's NHL, speed is at a premium.
The Wings did not have to look far to find one of the fastest skaters in the league, agreeing with Darren Helm on a five-year, $19.25 contract, for an average annual value of $3.85 million.
Helm, 29, was the Wings fifth-round draft choice, 132nd overall, in the 2005 NHL draft.
In the 2014-15 season, Helm bounced back from two years of injuries for a career year, scoring 15 goals and 18 assists in 75 games.
This past season Helm followed that up with 13 goals and 13 assists in 77 games.
Helm is a versatile player who can play his natural center position or on the wing, as he did for much of last season when he skated on Pavel Datsyuk’s line. Helm is also a strong penalty killer.
For his career, Helm has a 51.5 percent face-off winning percentage.
NHL.com's Rob Vollman said Helm is also excellent at drawing penalties, forcing opponents to take 64 penalties against him while committing just 21 himself.
According to TSN's Darren Dreger, Helm took a discount to remain with the Wings.
Dreger said Dallas, Boston, Vancouver and Calgary were all interested.
The Red Wings also announced that they had reached an two-year contract agreement with Alexey Marchenko. The Russian defenseman was a restricted free agent.
By agreeing to a deal with Marchenko, that leaves three current players to re-sign. Goalie Petr Mrazek, defenseman Danny DeKeyser and forward Teemu Pulkkinen are restricted free agents. The WIngs tendered offers to three players last week.