Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dwight Helminen Signs With San Jose

The River Rats bid farewell to Dwight Helminen. The 26-year-old center from Hancock, Michigan, has signed a contract with the San Jose Sharks.

Helminen, a defensive forward with a scoring touch, earned 30 points (15 G, 15 A) in 54 games with Albany last season. He played 23 regular season games with Carolina and made his first NHL playoff appearance in a contest against New Jersey.

Helminen was picked up by the Hurricanes last summer after spending a season in Finland with the premier league SM-liiga. Prior to that he spent three years with the Hartford Wolfpack as property of the New York Rangers. He was originally drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2002.

Helminen is scheduled to play next season somewhere between Worcester and San Jose.

"Dwight is a high-energy player that helps build our organizational depth," said Sharks' Executive VP and GM Doug Wilson. "We've watched him since his days with the U.S. development team and he fit in well with Carolina last season."

The departure of Helminen is not a total surprise. Space is limited in both Albany and Carolina. The Canes have been busy filling the ranks with depth signings of their own, and several draft picks are preparing to kick off their professional careers.

There will be plenty of new faces to make up for the loss.