The Washington Capitals have signed defensemen Bryan Helmer and recalled him from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today. In addition, the Caps have assigned forward Graham Mink back to Hershey which means that forward Boyd Gordon (back spasms) will likely play tonight. Accorinding to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post, Helmer will be paired with Tyler Sloan. When Helmer plays tonight he will be the 28th players the Caps have used this season. As I’ve been telling you since the rookie camp, this team does have some depth and we are about to find out how good it is at this point.
Helmer, 36, is a 6’1”, 215-pound 16-year pro from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. He is the Bears captain and is second among team defensemen with eight assists. He has also recorded 14 penalty minutes in 21 games this year.
Helmer, who was undrafted, is a veteran of 134 NHL games and most recently played with the Phoenix Coyotes during the 2003-04 season. He also suited up for the St. Louis Blues and the Vancouver Canucks and has eight goals, 15 assists and 133 penalty minutes on his NHL resume.
This past January, when Helmer was with the San Antonio Rampage, he became the fourth active AHL player to reach the 1,000 professional games played milestone. He has played in 869 career AHL games, which is the most among active AHL players. His 350 are also the most among active AHL players.
Helmer is available to play in tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens and would wear No. 43 for the Capitals.