Might be an unpopular opinion, but I would consider moving Helm. Krsmith, just looking at your proposed lineup, he looks out of place on that fourth line now, but I've got the exact same top-nine in mind. I can't see him getting "fourth-line" money. Who knows what he's going to ask for next offseason. Abdelkader and DeKeyser will be in for bigger raises, Sheahan and Mrazek smaller ones.
I'd like to see what the team has in Jurco and Pulkkinen, and they're in good shape with Larkin/Athanasiou not far behind. I wouldn't go so far as to call Helm expendable, but he had a good season and he's got younger guys right behind him with higher offensive ceilings.
Edit: Just to clarify, I don't think they'll move Helm. I think they'll kind of do a slow build with Pulkkinen, getting him to earn his ice time. If Mule is healthy, probably use Jurco on the 4th line with Miller-Glendening, which I'm not a fan of at all.
I'm a huge Helm fan and I think he adds a lot of energy and speed to the team and wouldn't want to let him go. I don't think he'll get that much in the offseason unless he has a huge season, but you're right that he won't get 4th line money.
We do have too many forwards, though, and we will also have to deal with the cap and new contracts. We'll have Richards' 4 million cap coming off next year (nhlnumbers says there's a 1 mill bonus) Quincey's 4.25 will also be gone. We'll also have some small contracts likely to take these places (Larkin, Marchenko, Ouelette)
If anyone has to feel the pinch, I would let it be Miller over Helm. I like Miller, but Helm adds more and is a better PKer, can play in most situations.
- BadgerBob likes this