Daily Archives: August 4, 2010

Helm signs two-year deal

DETROIT – Just another sign that Mike Modano will soon be a Detroit Red Wings occurred Wednesday.

Darren Helm, one of the Wings’ final two restricted free agents, inked a two-year deal with the club worth $1.825 million.

He’ll make $825,000 this year and $1 million the final year of the deal. The salary cap hit each year will be $912,500.

Wings’ management has yet to confirm the imitate signing of Modano, unlike the Westland native has done.

On Tuesday, Modano sent a text message to The Dallas Morning News saying that he had decided to play next season in Hockeytown.

Further confirmation came later that day by the ScoreBoard Monthly.

“It was a lot of back and forth internally, but I ultimately decided I wasn’t ready to hang up the skates so I’m going to Detroit,” he said.

The deal with Modano, who is scheduled to arrive back in the United States on Thursday from a golfing trip to Scotland, is expected to become official on Friday.

Justin Abdelkader is the other unrestricted free agent the Wings need to sign and that should happen quite soon.

The two were waiting on contracts to see whether or not the team would be able to sign Modano to a deal, which is expected to be for one year and worth $1.25 or $1.5 million.

Helm, 23, has become a fan favorite with his gritty play and speed.

In 75 games, he scored 11 goals and had 13 assists in his first full season with the Wings. He led the team in shorthanded goals with three and led the forwards in hits with 188.

Helm, who has 53 career Stanley Cup playoff games on his resume which is more than half of his regular season total of 98, was originally a fifth round pick, 132nd overall, of the Wings in the 2005 Entry Draft.

With the signing of Helm, 23, Detroit now has 13 forwards, not including Modano, seven defenseman and two goalies signed that pushes its salary cap hit to $57.34 million.

This year’s salary cap is $59.4 million.

The signing of Modano and Abdelkader will more than likely take the Wings over the cap. Teams are allowed to go 10-percent over the cap, but must be on it or under it by the start of the season.

Derek Meech, who’ll make $500,000 this season, has been mentioned as possibly being dealt before the season begins if he’s unable to win the sixth spot on defense.

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Modano confirms deal with Wings

DETROIT – The last time Mike Modano visited Detroit, he took in a Tigers game at Comerica Park.

The next time Modano comes to Detroit, which could be as early as Friday, it will be to sign a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.

Modano, via a text message sent to The Dallas Morning News Tuesday, said that he has decided to play next season in Hockeytown.

Modano, who is on a golf outing in Scotland, also told The Dallas Morning News that he’s scheduled to arrive back in the United States at 6 p.m. Thursday.

No one in the Wings’ front office would confirm that Modano is indeed coming to finish his career in Detroit.

“I’m optimistic,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “Our conversations have been good, but you never want to say it’s 100-percent until you know for sure. We all think it’s a great fit. We think it’s a great fit for a lot of reasons.”

The one-year deal is expected to be worth $1.25 or $1.5 million.

Modano later confirmed his decision with ScoreBoard Monthly.

“It was a lot of back and forth internally, but I ultimately decided I wasn’t ready to hang up the skates so I’m going to Detroit,” he said.

San Jose and Minnesota were the other teams interested in obtaining his services.

Dallas general manager Joe Nieuwendyk decided on June 29 not to re-sign Modano, which made him an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

The signing of Modano is quite similar to when the Wings inked Brett Hull. Hull was not offered an extension from the Stars after the 2000 season. He won a Stanley Cup with the Wings the very next year.

“I did talk to Brett and some other past and present Red Wings and it made me feel very comfortable with my decision,” Modano told ScoreBoard Monthly. “They all told me what a great organization and city it is to play in. And mix in the incredible talent they have playing there and it kind of made my decision for me.”

The Wings, who have had great success bringing in veteran players near the end of their careers, see Modano as a third-line center possibly playing with Dan Cleary and Jiri Hudler.

Modano, who made $2.25 million last year in Dallas, scored 14 goals and had 16 assists with the Stars last season, playing in just 59 games.

The Westland native, who spent his entire career with the Stars’ organization after being drafted No. 1 overall in 1988, is the highest-scoring American-born player in NHL history, with 557 goals and 802 assists in 1,459 career games.

A few weeks ago, Wings coach Mike Babcock told NHL.com that he felt Modano, an unrestricted free agent, will end his career in Hockeytown.

“This is a no-brainer for Mike Modano,” Babcock said. “It’s not about the cash, it’s about the legacy and the fit. He’ll fit and he’ll be excited to play. I look forward to him signing. I think that’s inevitable. I think that’s what is going to happen.

“I think this is all going to work out; I’m pretty certain of that for us, but I’ve been around before and if you would have told me Jiri Hudler was leaving for Russia, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Babcock added. “I’ve been wrong. Some people think I have the market cornered on being wrong.”

Modano will visit Dallas as a Red Wing in the Stars’ home opener on Oct. 14.

The deal will put Wings’ salary at $56.9 million. This year’s salary cap is $59.4 million.

The team also plans to sign restricted free agents Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader.

With Modano, who won a Stanley Cup with Dallas in 1999, as the third-line center, Helm and Abdelkader will battle to center the fourth line.

The Wings’ top line will consist of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom, while the second line will be made up of Valtteri Filppula, Johan Franzen and Todd Bertuzzi.