DETROIT – Wings general manager Ken Holland got news from Darren Helm he was hoping for Sunday afternoon.
Holland got a text message from Helm giving him an update of his two-game conditioning stint in Grand Rapids.
And it’s the best news Holland could have heard from a forward that has played just one game over the last 18 months with the Wings.
“He said his back feels great, so from a health standpoint everything is well and he’s looking forward to being in the lineup this weekend,” Holland said.
Helm, who has been sidelined with numerous injuries over that time, also texted that his conditioning and timing on the ice still has a ways to go.
All this means is Helm is still on course to make his season debut Saturday night at home against the New York Rangers.
Helm, who will be back on the ice in Detroit Monday, had no points and four shots on goal in those two games.
While all this is great news for Helm and the Wings it does leave a few question marks regarding their roster.
With Helm coming off long-term injured reserve and Patrick Eaves (sprained left knee and ankle) also set to be activated by Saturday as well, Detroit must clear to roster spots and some salary-cap space.
Both players can’t come off long-term IR, which requires a minimum 24-day stay, until Thursday.
Fourth-line center Luke Glendening will be one of the moves as he will head back to Grand Rapids.
The other in all likelihood will be Jordin Tootoo, who the Wings tried to deal this offseason.
If they’re unable to deal the gritty forward and unclaimed if waived the Wings would get just $925,000 in cap relief due to the new collective bargaining agreement that punishes teams for trying to bury veterans with a high salary-cap number in the minors.
Tootoo has another year left on a three-year deal worth $1.9 million a season.
Eaves is another possible candidate the Wings could try and deal or waived.
Holland also said that Niklas Kronwall (mild concussion) won’t play Monday against the San Jose Sharks, but could return for Wednesday’s home game against the Ottawa Senators if he has no setbacks in his recovery.
Kronwall had to be taken off on a stretcher after being hit from behind by Colorado’s Cody McLeod in the first period of the Wings’ 4-2 win over the Avalanche on Thursday.
Kronwall also suffered cuts on the right side of his face after his head was slammed into the glass just 2:13 into the first period.
Kronwall did remain with the team on its trip to Phoenix.