The New York Islanders are certainly keeping busy as they wait for a decision from John Tavares. In the team’s second deal in under an hour, they have signed defenseman Seth Helgeson to a contract extension. According to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie, the deal nearly mirrors the one given to goaltender Christopher Gibson earlier today. It is a two-year, two-way contract that pays Helgeson the $650K minimum at the NHL level next season and $700K in the NHL in 2019-20, with a$250K salary in the AHL over both years.
Helgeson, 27, is coming off of his first season with the Islanders organization after signing as an unrestricted free agent last summer. Helgeson previously spent four seasons with the rival New Jersey Devils. A fourth-round pick of the Devils in 2009 and a four-year starter at the University of Minnesota, Helgeson entered the pros with high expectations of being a solid stay-at-home defenseman with room to grow. While his defensive game has always been steady, he has been underwhelming at the other aspects of the game. In both the AHL and NHL, Helgeson has struggled to produce points or move the puck and has gotten into frequent penalty trouble. In 50 NHL games – all with the Devils – Helgeson has just four points and a Corsi rating of 43.7%.
Last season, Helgeson failed to make an appearance with the Islanders and recorded one goal and eleven assists in 76 games with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He also recorded 137 penalty minutes, sixth-most in the league. At his best, the 6’4″, 220-lb. Helgeson is a big, heavy defensive presence who intimidates the opposition and plays a safe stay-at-home style. Often that can be the perfect type of stopgap emergency call-up player for NHL teams to stash in the minors. However, Helgeson’s play leaves a lot of upside to be desired and he will likely serve much of this two-year extension in Bridgeport.