I called in a favor and asked Michael Spath at The Wolverine and TheWolverine.com — the publication's Rivals.com Web site — to give us his take on Dwight Helminen, who played at U-M from 2001-2004 and will be making his NHL debut tomorrow against Montreal. Michael has been covering hockey for The Wolverine since 2002. Having worked with him since he joined The Wolverine, I know he's a very knowledgeable hockey writer who has seen a ton of NHL talent play for and against the Maize and Blue. Here's his take on Helminen:
A very capable two-way player, Helminen skates seamlessly between offense and defense. He has a very unassuming way about him, appearing in the right place at the right time offensively. He has very good wrist shot and can hit the back of the net from just about any spot in the offensive end. Helminen skates extremely hard, especially defensively, and will challenge power-play point man to be accurate and quick with their passes or he'll pick it off. He's most dangerous in situations where there is a loose puck and he can make a run for it because he has an uncanny ability to turn it up a notch, leading to a breakaway or odd-man rush.
Weaknesses: He never seems to get as much as he can out of his offensive ability. It's not that he takes shifts off, but almost that he's so focused on his defensive responsibility that he forgets he's a centerman sometimes. He doesn't shoot as much as he needs to and will almost never crash the net.
A big, big thanks to Michael for taking time out of his busy schedule and helping us out.