By Josh Evans, OKC Barons on 01/07/2011

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, Ontario 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).  That includes 146 games at the National Hockey League level with the Phoenix Coyotes, St. Louis Blues, Vancouver Canucks and as recently as the 08-09 season with the Washington Capitals.

“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.”

He has played the majority of his career at the American Hockey League level.  In 982 AHL games, Helmer has recorded 513 points (120-393-513).  His 393 assists stands as the most by a defenseman in AHL history, while his 513 points is six points shy of the AHL mark for points by a defenseman.  With 18 games played, he will become the seventh player in AHL history to play in 1,000 games.

“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 in an AHL record 138 Calder Cup playoff games and has been named to an AHL All Star Team on three occasions.  Helmer is expected in the lineup for the Barons game tonight against Peoria.

Oklahoma City is home for three games this weekend, beginning tonight at 7:05 against the Peoria Rivermen, the AHL affiliate of the St. Louis Blues.  Saturday, the Barons and Rivermen clash again at 6:05 p.m.  Oklahoma City rounds out their weekend Sunday at 5:05 p.m. against the Lake Erie Monsters, AHL affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.

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