The Hershey Bears announced Tuesday that defenseman Bryan Helmer has re-signed with the club for the upcoming 2009-10 season.
The grizzled 37-year-old veteran performed well last season, his first with the Bears. He served as team captain and was also named captain of the Canadian team in the AHL all-star game.
Helmer recorded two goals and 27 points in 63 games during the regular season. He also totaled three goals and eight points in 22 games on the way to leading his team to a record 10th calder cup championship.
Due to a number of injuries in Washington, Helmer was signed and recalled by the Capitals back on November 28th. He played in 12 games with the big club and totaled three assists during his time in the NHL. It was the Ontario native's first NHL action since the 2003-04 season when he appeared in 17 games with the Phoenix Coyotes.
The voice of the Bears John Walton seems to approve of the decision to bring him back. He posted this on his blog Tuesday:
Talk about veteran leadership! On the heels of signing former Hershey captain Boyd Kane earlier this month, the Bears announced Tuesday afternoon the signing of last year's captain Bryan Helmer to a new deal. That will put the captains of Hershey's last two cup teams on the same roster for 2009-10. What better environment for developing young players!
Not only will Helmer continue to make the Hershey Bears one of the best teams in the AHL, he will also give the Capitals a veteran defenseman to recall in the case of an emergency. It's an AHL contract, so in order to do that Washington would need to sign him to an NHL deal to bring him up. But in a best case scenario, Helmer will remain in Hershey and help the Capitals' youngster flourish.
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