I hadn't really thought about this before and it may sound a bit off the wall in terms of what the organization may be thinking but it would be worth consideration. It is obvious that Carolina wasn't able to get the 2nd Round Pick for Anton Babchuk like they wanted and it's obvious that they're not trying to give him away, or it likely would have happened in the deal for Matt Cullen. Here is my line of thinking.
Carolina is in line to have quite a few free agents on the blueline next year. Glen Wesley and Bret Hedican will likely retire. Mike Commodore may walk for more money than we're willing to offer, though he may stay. Dennis Seidenberg is a depth defenseman. Tim Gleason will likely be signed.
The fact that Babchuk signed a one year deal in Russia means that he has the status as a defected player. He is happier with his situation in Russia than he was with his situation in the AHL and will likely stay there the entire season unless Carolina deals him.
Here is where it may get interesting.
Carolina can come to Babchuk and his agent next season without them having negotiation rights with any other NHL franchise due to his status. They can offer him a one way contract based on the fact that they can all but promise him playing time after losing a lot on the blueline in terms of depth and with Hedican and Wesley gone. Do you think Carolina is letting Babchuk play in Russia this year in order for him to make the kind of money he deserves to make instead of playing at his AHL level salary for the entire season instead of sitting in the press box this year and risking it by not giving him enough playing time?
Do you think Carolina goes to Babchuk and his agent next year and tries to mend fences and offers him a comfortable one way deal in order to come back considering that it would be harder to replace what he could bring in the UFA market for the budget that we're confined to spending?
I'd be happy to see Anton playing for Canes, i am not sure it is going to actually happen. I just hope that a year from now both sides will forget the last year incident.
I wish i had information on how much he is making in RSL. Unlike NHL they don't disclose salaries. Babchuk isn't considered a star player even in Russia so I doubt he is making much. That will make it easier to bring him back to NHL. We will have to wait how season and especially the end of it unfold.
I think Babchuk has excellent potential, especially with his booming slapshot. I think Canes are foolish to let him play in Russia. I suspect it comes down to a problem between Coach Laviolette and Babchuk. The fact that there are no other russians on the Canes, probably plays a factor too.
I dont blame Rutherford for not giving Babchuk's rights away but I don t think its very smart to let him go back to Russia; so many of the Cane dmen have injury/age issues.
Commodore is the only other Right shooting dman and I think Babchuk would be far superior as a pp point man.
Commodore just had his breakout year at 26 years old. Babchuk just turned 23 and has just played 96 NHL games and 177 ahl games. I figure he's just on the verge of putting his skills together and becoming a good NHL dman.
I would think that if there was no way possible he would play another game for the organization they would have taken what they could get for him at the draft and write him off instead of dragging the situation out this far to the extent that his value may become null and void if he develops a comfort level in Russia that makes it a less than attractive option to come back over and fight for a roster space on an NHL team. The longer he stays away from the NHL, the better chance he has of not getting a one way deal when he returns IMO considering he's not a proven commodity by any stretch to this point.
I think it's important for Babchuk to feel wanted and to play at the NHL level. I rarely feel like the player in a holdout situation has a shred of rationality behind his actions but for some reason I can almost see where Babchuk is coming from. Not saying he handled it the right way, but when you've played really good hockey for a team for two years in a row and are sent down for money reasons or numbers reasons every time you get comfortable in the fact that you have an NHL job, it must be very difficult to take. I think that if any team, even Carolina, can offer Babchuk almost a promise that he'll play at the NHL level then he'll come back over. I think it can be good for his development to get some major playing time next season in Russia. It may help him round out the defensive aspects of his game that are less than respectable.
As much as I would like to see this happen, in my opinion it won't. I think when it comes time and Babchuk can do what he pleases, there will be no way on gods green earth he returns to this team. Afterall, to him, we snubbed him and sent him to the minors. So chances are, if we were to come knocking on his door, he'd probably give us the cold shoulder. If JR were to even make a call when the time came, he probably wouldn't even pick up the phone.