Jr. | D | Brighton, Mich.
Helminen scored 32 points last season, sixth best among
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
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.”