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Helm’s Departure Leaves Red Wings’ Stanley Cup Cupboard Empty

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Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula were the last holdouts from Detroit's more recent Stanley Cup winner in 2007-08.

When the Detroit Red Wings take the ice for the 2021-22 NHL season, an element that’s been ever present for a quarter-century will be absent from the Detroit lineup. For the first time since the 1996-97 season, the Wings won’t suit up a single player who’s won a Stanley Cup while wearing a Red Wings uniform.

Last season, forwards Darren Helm and Valtteri Filppula represented the last links to the glory days of Detroit’s most recent Stanley Cup win in 2007-08. Both were unrestricted free agents at season’s end. With the Wings passing on keeping either veteran forward within the fold, it’s the end of an era.

Helm signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche. Filppula remains on the open market but he isn’t going to be coming back to Detroit.

Helm’s Rookie Season

The 2007-08 season, when Detroit beat the Pittsburgh Penguins a six-game Stanley Cup final series, was Helm’s rookie NHL campaign. Although he only played seven regular-season games, Helm became an ever-present in the Detroit playoff lineup, posting 2-2-4 numbers in 18 games.

That Cup-winning campaign was Filppula’s third in the NHL. He finished sixth on the team with 19 goals and added 5-6-11 numbers in 22 playoff games.

When the Wings won the Stanley Cup in the spring of 1997 by sweeping the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup final, the following season marked the first time in 24 years that the club would suit up a player who’d won a Stanley Cup while wearing the Winged Wheel crest.

On November 7, 1973, the Red Wings lost 4-1 to the Flyers. Following the game, the team announced the firing of coach Ted Garvin. Immediately afterward came the naming of team captain Alex Delvecchio as the new head coach by Detroit GM Ned Harkness.

Delvecchio was the last player left playing for the team from Detroit’s 1954-55 Stanley Cup championship club. He not only played for that team, in Game 7 of the 1955 Stanley Cup final against Montreal at Olympia Stadium, Delvecchio scored twice as the Red Wings downed the Canadiens 3-1.

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