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 SportingNews.com. "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.