Ranked tied for fifth among defensemen in scoring in Russian Superliga in 2007-08
RALEIGH, NC—Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with defenseman Anton Babchuk on a one-year contract. The deal will pay Babchuk $1 million in 2008-09.
“Anton had a good year in the Russian Superliga,” Rutherford said. “He played well at times with us two seasons ago and now, at 24 years old, it is his time to mature into a consistent NHL defenseman.”
Babchuk, 24, spent the 2007-08 season playing with Avangard Omsk of the Russian Superliga. He led all Omsk defensemen and ranked tied for fifth among Superliga defensemen in scoring with 26 points (9g, 17a) in 57 games played. His 17 assists ranked tied for fifth overall among Omsk skaters, and the Kiev, Ukraine, native also had one goal and one assist (2 points) in four playoff games.
Acquired by Carolina from Chicago during the 2005-06 season in exchange for Danny Richmond, Babchuk (6’5”, 212 lbs.) has notched seven goals, 19 assists (26 points) and 54 penalty minutes in 96 career NHL games with the Blackhawks and Hurricanes. He split the 2006-07 season between Carolina and Albany (American Hockey League), establishing NHL career-highs in games played (52), assists (12), points (14) and penalty minutes (30), ranking tied for third among Hurricanes defensemen in scoring and third among Carolina skaters in blocked shots (95). He also tallied one goal and six assists (7 points) in nine AHL contests. Chicago’s first-round pick (21st overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, Babchuk had five goals and five assists (10 points) in 39 NHL games in 2005-06, and served as a “Black Ace” during Carolina’s run to the Stanley Cup championship.
Babchuk has represented Russia in major international competitions twice, capturing a gold medal at the 2001 Under-18 World Junior Championships and a silver medal at the 2002 Under-18 World Junior Championships. He has played in two AHL All-Star Games, winning the Hardest Shot Contest at the AHL All-Star Classic in 2004 with a 99.6-mph blast.