Barons sign Bryan Helmer

The Oklahoma City Barons signed defenseman Bryan Helmer to a Professional Tryout Contract (PTO), Barons general manager Bill Scott announced today.

Helmer, a 6-1, 210-pounder from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., is entering his 18th season as a professional. He has played each of the last two seasons with the Calder Cup champion Hershey Bears. As a professional, Helmer has played in 1,178 professional games, scoring 562 points (133-429-562).

He has played the majority of his career at the American Hockey League level and has recorded 513 points (120-393-513) in 982 AHL games for Hershey, San Antonio, Grand Rapids, Springfield, Manitoba, Worcester, and Albany.

Helmer’s 393 assists stand as the most by a defenseman in AHL history, while his 513 points are six points shy of the AHL mark for career points by a defenseman, currently held by John Slaney (519). With 18 games played, he will become the seventh player in AHL history to play in 1,000 games.

“We’re happy to have Bryan here”, said Barons head coach Todd Nelson. “Besides his play on the ice, he will help us in the dressing room with his good knowledge of the game. Anytime you have a chance to sign a guy with the experience he has, it is a good thing.”

Helmer has appeared in 146 games at the National Hockey League level with the Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and as recently as the 2008-09 season with the Washington Capitals.

“Having a player like Bryan Helmer can be a key ingredient to a playoff run,” said Scott. “We expect that our team will learn from his experience as a captain of a back-to-back AHL championship team in addition to his experience at the NHL and AHL levels.”

The three-time Calder Cup champion has appeared in an AHL-record 138 Calder Cup Playoff games. He earned a berth on the AHL’s First All-Star Team in 1997-98 and the Second All-Star Team in 2005-06.