directory Light the Lamp - a Columbus Blue Jackets blog: Babchuk?

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Check out this little piece on Anton Babchuk from The Sporting News:

During a conversation with Carolina GM Jim Rutherford about the Canes, the conversation shifted to the future of defenseman Anton Babchuk. Babchuk is coming off a 16-goal season but the restricted free agent rejected Carolina's one-year offer. He changed agents, from Jay Grossman to Don Meehan and wants to play in the NHL next season. It won't be with Carolina, but Rutherford said he sees a solution to Babchuk's situation before training camp.

"Teams are feeling their way as to where the cap was and how much they had to give him. And now we're getting right down to the end," Rutherford told "There's more teams poking around."

Right now there are three teams showing serious interest in the Russian defenseman, although one team has the inside track. With Carolina's roster basically set for this season, look for Carolina to ask for a prospect, most likely a defenseman, in return for Babchuk.

"I would expect that something is going to happen with him prior to camp this week," Rutherford said.

Babchuk is a 25 year old right handed restricted free agent defensemen. He netted 16g, 19a for 35 points for Carolina last season. Forecaster's take:

ASSETS: Displays untapped offensive potential and a big shot from the point. Owns enough ability to impact the back line.
FLAWS: Needs to round out his game, especially in the defensive zone, since he's still very raw. Must be more disciplined on the ice.
CAREER POTENTIAL: Top four defenseman.

Babchuk made 1 million last season and has been qualified at 1.1 million for this coming season. There has been an ongoing rift between he and the Hurricane's GM Jim Rutherford for the past few seasons and as the article suggests, he is not in the Hurricane's plans and will be dealt.

It's been said all Rutherford wants back is a defensive prospect. The Jackets have some of those (Ruth, Weber, Regner, Holden, Clitsome, Sigalet).

We know Howson missed out on a pricier right handed offensive guy in Erhoff... with the Jackets still in desperate need of someone to help out that backend Howson has to be one of these 3 teams that has inquired about Babchuks's services right? He's not perfect (okay skater, prone to defensive lapses) but at this stage we aren't getting a perfect guy. We could desperately use his depth and his ability to one time a big time shot from that point (see vid below).

Couple of things will need to happen if there is any hope of a deal to be completed.

1. Is Howson indeed interested?

2. Is Rutherford interested in any of our prospects?

3. The most important - will ownership green light the additional salary?

I'd say yes to both 1 & 2 with 3 being a big question mark. Assuming Howson could sign this guy for under 2 mil perhaps on a one year deal it should make things a little more bearable and perhaps allow Howson to unload a player not named Chimera or Modin to gain a little budget relief.



eplagge said...


Great article, I have been following Babchuk for quite a while now and I would love to see him in Union blue...The hurricanes really wanted to keep him in the fold but Anton is simply asking for too much to remain in Raleigh.. The article nicely point out that the Hurricanes are looking for a no-salary-in-return-deal.. which is a major problem for us... They are only 2M under the cap after losing Seidenberg and Babchuk to FA and buying out F.Kaberle.. Considering we couldn't add Ehrhoff for a straight up salary dump, it's going to be though... but there is a major difference... this will be 2M versus about 5M that SJ dumped last month.. ownership might approve this.. We can hopefully do a salay dump in exchange for picks for the likes of Chimera and or Modin. BTW I really think with his natural talent and Hitch as coach we can round this guy into a really good D-man.. He could be a steal in the long run, plus he's only 25 he could grow with the young core of this team..... BTW does anyone on this board know who the 3 teams are... I can't find a good info anywhere, just curious..

LTL said...

Not sure about the 3 teams now but I did read on HF that both the Rangers and Vancouver were interested earlier this offseason.

I think we can officially rule out Vancouver after acquiring Erhoff.


JAL said...

I have been touting Babchuk for awhile as a good fit. Sure, there is a risk factor here, but fairly nominal, given the price.

I can see a prospect going to Carolina, maybe a draft pick, and we get Babchuk. I do think a second deal, or maybe two more, will happen as camp progresses, jettisoning a couple of forwards in exchange for 1 forward and a draft pick.

Fun times!

A Shot From The Point

eplagge said...

After doing some more research I can only find rumors of rumors pertaining to the 3 teams... Rangers and Vancouver as LTL pointed out are the most commonly mentioned.. but not a single shred of solid information anywhere... the Devils are mentioned here and there . and also I would like to point out that a rumor isn't a good rumor until the Rangers are mentioned as possible suitors... Yep Vancouver is out, they are stocked to the gill with quality NHL defensemen, Gillis is even saying they won't move any of their D and that they like the depth it provides the Canucks, that would be great if they weren't in dire need of some offensive firepower.... looking at Vancouver they should trade one of their Defenseman for a top-6 forward. I personally believe that could make them a contender.. Now they are very good but they will struggle to score goals... look for lots of 1 goal differential games for the Nucks.. BTW can you believe that 5M cap hit deal for Luongo..anyways back to babchuk... I guess we won't know who's going to get him until the deal is struck, luckily all indications point to a trade being done this week... I am definitely crossing my fingers to see if we can land Babchuk... and I agree with JAL we will make some moves during training camp if we end up obtaining babchuk... BTW finally a season where we have too many NHL caliber players and we need to make a move... what a change, it feels good...

aault said...

Honestly, I think you do what it takes to nab Babchuk. For all the talk about his "issues" and defensive prowess this team sucked at the PP last year and Babchuk would instantly get #1 PP unit time. He can't move the puck but that doesn't mean he couldn't score 10+ PP goals getting fed from Brassard or Vorcek on the point.

I think you grab Babchuk and sign him to a two year deal until Moore is ready to take his spot. Sign him for around 2 million a season and worry about shedding the money once the season starts. With this many forwards I wouldn't be surprised if someone gets seriously injured (Torres?) and has to go on LTIR saving us money.

I would offer either Teddy Ruth or Brent Regner depending on what Carolina's scouts think and wether or not JR is looking for an offensive or defensive prospect. Honestly, I think if you can turn Fedorov at the trade deadline into 2 years of Anton Babchuk to warm up a spot for John Moore you do it.

aault said...

* I think I was mistaken about LTIR, it doesn't save us money, only cap space. Forget about that part.

eplagge said...

Aault, I am with you.. .in this ridiculously though western conference you need to address every issue you have. We are pretty solid in almost every facet of the game, we have rookies coming up who will improve our lesser weaknesses in the long run.. but for now the darn PP is killing us. As I pointed out in a previous post... 21 additional goals... in my mind if we want to be a playoff team, just to make it... we need to improve our PP now..

Here's some good stats regarding PP (regular season):

Best team: 90 goals (25.5%)
Average: 62 goals (about 18-19%)
CBJ: 41 Goals (12.7%)

Our average goals per game for and against were 2.68 & 2.72. Tt doesn't get much tighter then that !!

If we become an average PP team.. we would have 21 extra goals.... !!!! you do the math.. .PP is the key for the upcoming season.. if we don't bring in reinforcements we need to find a setup that works with the current pieces quickly... 21 goals for a 0.02 goal differential team is HUGE....

eplagge said...

BTW some rumor sites are reporting that the 3 teams appear to be the rangers, devils and blue jackets... with the jackets and devils having the best shot...

If this is true, we might have a really good shot.. because this is about who has the best prospects...

Anyways, these are rumors and not facts.... but the rumors seem to think we are in the mix of things..

Let's hope the rumors are true...

gloveside said...

I watched Babchuk all year here in Raleigh, he's overrated. He doesn't skate very well, doesn't have the instincts to play D, and is kind of a nutjob. Don't you think Carolina would keep a guy with a shot like his for the deal they COULD get him at? Thing is, that's all he's got, a big shot. Watch any game he played during the playoffs last year.I'm a Jackets fan, Columbus native, he's not the answer to the woes on the blueline.