August 11, 2005

Michigan Tech
Jr. | D | Brighton, Mich.

Lars Helminen scored 32 points last season, sixth best among NCAA defensemen.


Key Statistics: Good neighbors can make life more enjoyable. Helminen learned that lesson last winter when he was paired with Hobey finalist Colin Murphy on the Huskies’ power play unit. The result was a breakout 32-point season (eight goals, 24 assists) which placed him in the top six nationally for points by a blueliner and earned him All-WCHA Second Team honors.

What He Does: Helminen says he’s always been a defenseman with offensive tendencies, and loves nothing more than making an outlet pass to start an odd-man rush. His leadership skills will be just as valuable to the Huskies if they hope to get out of the WCHA cellar that’s been their home in three of the past four seasons. With a young team returning, Tech coach Jamie Russell has decided to put an “A” on Helminen’s sweater and hopes that the rearguard’s inspiring sophomore show will carry over into this season.

The Bigger Picture: Helminen’s offensive coming-out party was born not during the cold of a U.P. winter, but during the hot summer of 2004 when he put long hours into his foot speed, determined to get quicker. Of course, long hours related to hockey are nothing new for the Helminen clan, although they’re usually spent behind the wheel. Six of the seven Helminen kids play hockey, including Lars’ brother Dwight, who skates for the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack after three seasons at Michigan, and sister Jodi, a sophomore forward at Minnesota State, Mankato. It’s more than 1,000 miles round trip for parents Karl and Eva to attend one of Lars’ home games, and at last count, there were more than 300,000 miles on the Helminen family mini-van.

Huskies coach Jamie Russell on Helminen: “With how well-coached teams are today and how sophisticated systems get, you’ve got to get your defensemen into the play. Lars knows when to jump and he jumps into the offensive play very well. And he can finish. When he gets the puck, he’s going to bury it.”

— Jess Myers

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