2006-07: Seth Helgeson was a standout player at Faribault High School back in his home state of Minnesota. Selected in the 2nd round, 24th overall in the 2006 USHL Futures Draft by the Sioux City Musketeers.
2007-08: Helgeson joined the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL. Saw action in a total of 62 games (playoffs included) for Muskies, collection g 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) and 43 penalty minutes.
2008-09: Helgeson played his second season with Sioux City. Named to the USHL’s Western Division All-Star Team. He played for Team USA’s gold medal squad at the 2008 World Junior A Challenge. Was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL draft by the Devils.
2009-10: Helgeson had a shaky start to his NCAA Career, but appeared in 31 games with Minnesota; recording 1 assist with 24 penalty minutes.
2010-11: Helgeson appeared in all 36 games for Minnesota as a sophomore and was frequently paired with Blues’ prospect Cade Fairchild. Despite the Gophers’ struggles (an uncharacteristic fifth-place finish and first-round lost to Alaska-Anchorage in the WCHA playoffs), Helgeson established himself as a consistent, shut-down defender at the college level. Helgeson chipped in offensively for the Gophers, scoring 1 goal with 6 assists and was plus-7, but it was his toughness (including a team-leading 66 PMs) and positional play that was his strong suit.
2011-12 Helgeson skated in 42 games for Minnesota as a junior; providing a veteran presence on a young defense corps that was a key to the Golden Gophers’ success. Partnered with sophomore Justin Holl (CHI) much of the year, he was plus-12 with 5 goals and 9 assists and had a team-leading 70 penalty minutes. The Gophers won the WCHA regular season title and after losing to North Dakota in the WCHA semifinals defeated the Fighting Sioux in the NCAA West Regional final the following week to reach the Frozen Four.
2012-13: Helgeson signed a two-year entry-level deal with New Jersey in April and made his pro hockey debut — skating in four AHL games with the Devils’ AHL affiliate in Albany following his senior season at Minnesota. He had no points and was plus-2 with 2 penalty minutes with Albany, which missed the AHL playoffs after finishing fourth in the Northeast Division. Helgeson’s final season with the Gophers was a successful one as Minnesota won its second straight WCHA regular season title. The lone senior in the Minnesota defensemen corps, Helgeson had 5 assists and was minus-5 with 62 penalty minutes in 40 games. The season came to a disappointing end as the Gophers lost to Colorado College, 2-0, in a WCHA semifinal game and lost in overtime to eventual national champion Yale in an NCAA West Regional semifinal.
2013-14: Helgeson was one of two players along with forward Harri Pesonen to skate in a team-leading 75 of 76 regular season games with New Jersey AHL affiliate Albany in his first pro season; leading the Devils with 100 penalty minutes. He was plus-12 and scored 1 goal with 9 assists. Albany finished second in the Northeast Division and lost to eventual Calder Cup finalist St. John’s in a first-round playoff series. Helgeson was minus-2 with no points and 2 penalty minutes in four playoff games.
Helgeson plays a simple and safe game, using his imposing size to his advantage. He excels at rubbing opponents out along the boards and behind the net. His long reach aids him with defending off the rush and in his own end. He is usually in good position and does a good job using his stick to take away passing lanes. A prototypical stay-at-home defenseman, Helgeson’s skating stride and puck skills have improved markedly since he was first drafted. He is limited in terms of offense but makes strong, crisp outlet passes and does a good job of getting the puck through traffic and towards the net.
Helgeson was signed to a two-year contract with New Jersey over the summer. He has a good chance to make New Jersey’s roster during training camp as a seventh or eighth defenseman, but he will have to compete against the more offensive-minded Vojtech Mozik and the all-around game of Raman Hrabarenka. With his limited offensive talent, it is more likely he is utilized in a more responsible role when the Devils want to install are more physical, defensive element into the line-up. Helgeson can return to Albany this season if he cannot make the roster and would likely be one of the first call-ups in case injuries take their toll on the blue line.