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We MUST sign Anton Babchuk

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Old
06-04-2009, 06:51 AM
  #1
impeach estaalo
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We MUST sign Anton Babchuk

I am getting tired of hearing (mostly on other boards) that Babchuk is some sort of expendable player just because he sucked in the playoffs. Even Rutherford has gotten into the act, saying that Babchuk could either take his offer or head back to Russia.

With Seidenberg as a UFA this year and Corvo a UFA next summer, can we really afford to lose a defenseman like Babchuk just because he struggled during his first playoff at the age of 24/25? Oh, I forgot, we have a bunch of nice shiny prospects...prospects not much younger than Babchuk who haven't even accomplished in the AHL what he has in the NHL.

Let's look at just how important Babchuk was to the team last year and how much potential he has.

- Per minute played on the PP, Babchuk was the most lethal threat among any defenseman in the league.
Babchuk scored a stunning 9 PP goals while only averaging 2:22 of PP time per game. That was the best scoring rate among defensemen who played at least 2:00 a game on the powerplay and at least 40 games.

Here is the Top 10:
1. Anton Babchuk - 3.21 goals per 60 minutes of PP time
2. Mike Green - 2.92
3. Zdeno Chara - 1.90
4. Alexandre Picard - 1.90
5. Brendan Bell - 1.88
6. Pavel Kubina - 1.75
7. Mark Streit - 1.66
8. Marek Zidlicky - 1.63
9. Marc-Andre Bergeron - 1.62
10. Jay Bouwmeester - 1.59

- Only 4 defensemen scored more goals than Babchuk.
Those were Mike Green (365:59), Sheldon Souray (396:33), Shea Weber (360:04) Zdeno Chara (301:51). I put their total PP time played next to their name. By comparison, Babchuk played just 170:42 on the PP.

- Babchuk finished +13, second best on the team behind Staal.
Babchuk was only on the ice for 33 5-on-5 goals against this season. He did play less ice time than most of the other defensemen, though, so let's look at the goals-against rate: Babchuk was scored on 2.01 times per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 time. Compare that to 2.76 for Joe Corvo, 2.49 for Tim Gleason, 2.36 for Dennis Seidenberg and 2.30 for Joni Pitkanen.

- Babchuk showed great chemistry with Joni Pitkanen.
Pitkanen went +13 while playing with Babchuk and -2 while playing with anyone else. Together the two went a combined +26 while on the ice together. Pitkanen-Seidenberg were OK together, but Pitkanen-Babchuk was easily the best pairing on the team when it was together.


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06-04-2009, 06:58 AM
  #2
knucklehead3k
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i hope you're right because when i felt more confident that kraperlay was out there on our blueline than babs, something is really wrong.
like they say, it does take time for a d-man to develop, but babs has a lot of work to do on that front.

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06-04-2009, 07:03 AM
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Hes good on the powerplay, but man does he get exposed in his own end and through the neutral zone when he is faced with speed down the wings.

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06-04-2009, 07:10 AM
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I wouldn't say it was just his play in the playoffs that has some a little hesitant. Throughout the course of the season I always noticed a lack of confidence anytime he handled the puck in his own zone. Some would say that would come with time, but Babchuk has already had plenty of time to mature. He's had a few years in the AHL with Chicago, a year in the NHL with Carolina, as well as a year in Russia's top league; yet he still looks like someone who just made the jump from junior hockey. Players like Carson and Rodney, without any prior NHL experience, still looked more confident with the puck on their stick this season.

There isn't any doubt that his shot is lethal, but I don't think he is a vital piece to this franchise. Rutherford shouldn't have to bend-over-backwards to keep him around, and that seems to be exactly what Rutherford thinks.

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06-04-2009, 07:23 AM
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impeach estaalo
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Carson and Rodney played a total of 13 games while getting bottom pairing minutes. Give them 18+ minutes a night over a full season like Babchuk and you will see them get exposed.

Rodney is actually a month older than Babchuk, so there's not a lack of hockey experience. What there is a lack of NHL experience. You've got to question why a 25-year old who has spent his entire career in NA has only managed 8 games played.


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06-04-2009, 07:39 AM
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Guerzy
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Anton's defensive game =









Anton's offensive game =







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06-04-2009, 08:06 AM
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Guerzy
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It doesn't take much to put two and two together and see that Babchuk's defensive game (in my mind) is a few (or quite a few) steps back from Rodney or Carsons. Of course you will see some gaps and holes, and some mental breakdowns from young defenceman over the haul of the season, that is common sense whether you're Anton Babchuk, Dion Phaneuf or Jay Bouwmeester. Whether you're getting 12-14 minutes a night or 18-22 minutes a night. It's going to happen.

I tend to agree with JustJoe2k5 in the sense that Anton has had quite a good chunk of time playing the North American game and he does indeed tend to look down right disoriented in his own zone. It happened in the regular season at times and it went to another level in the playoffs. Anton has never been steady eddy in his own zone. There is one thing that if you don't have, you may never will - hockey sense. Anton in his own zone shows a very minimal amount of that in my mind. Anton may be big and his mobility may not be up there due to his size and lack of skating ability, but he is 25 years old now, we aren't talking about an 18 year old getting drafted who will 'grow in to his size become more steady on his own two feet'. I'm not saying Anton won't polish up that aspect of his game, but if you were a betting man I think it's fairly easy to guess where you'll place your bets.


Anton has 177 AHL games and 168 NHL games under his belt to total 345 professional games in North America. (Not including playoffs.) While it's true this season was the one where he got 'a solid chance' and opportunity, he still has been within the NA style of the game for a very solid chunk of time and if you didnt know who he was, you'd think he just came straight out of junior, like JustJoe2k5 stated. Evidently it was the playoffs and the pressure goes up a few notches, but to be 'that' uncomfortable and frazzled is a bit uneasy. Even with minimal minutes, he was still out to lunch in his own end. Compare Rodney/Carson to Babchuk and his 'experience' and I would take the rookie here 10 times out of 10 on a 2 on 1 in my own zone every day of the week.

In my mind the argument of 'You've got to question why a 25-year old who has spent his entire career in NA has only managed 7 games played' isn't a strong point of view for me. There have been guys who get to the NHL that simply, for whatever the reason, take a different route or path. For some reason, the cards just don't fall in place at one time or his game just isn't at the level it needs to be. I saw a bit of Rodney in Junior and his point totals are no fluke. He was a smooth skating defenceman who was downright dangerous from the blueline. Why he couldn't crack it in the AHL or even get drafted, I don't know. However, he is here now, he is showing solid strides and he has had a pretty solid and respectable 2 years in the AHL. That, for me, is promising regardless of how he got here. So for me, the point of having played the NA game yet only have 8 NHL games under your belt doesnt hold to much water. He is still quite young at 25 and it looks like he is about to hit his stride as he finds his game at the pro level. Just because he didn't get drafted, crack the AHL, or get all the experience that Anton 'I have the defensive game of a 9 year old' Babchuk, doesn't mean at this point in time, today, Rodney is not better in certain areas of the game than Babchuk and many other young defenceman and in 2-3 years won't be a better all-around defenceman.

You can look at it from that side of the fence or you could look at it from the other side of the fence. Anton has played 168 NHL games, 177 AHL games and still juggles the hot potato in his own end compared to someone who has played a whopping 8 NHL games, 108 AHL games, yet evidently (in my mind) has a much better, more polished defensive game than someone his own age with plenty more experience. Looks a little different when you slice it that way. Will there come a time when you have to question a 25 year old defenceman who has spent close to 400 games (AHL/NHL) in the professional ranks of the North American game yet he still cannot play a steady, solid, defensive game?

I know an American born defenceman in the NHL today who was 1. Never drafted 2. Played 4 years WCHA in Wisconsin & was an All-Star 3. Played 4 more years in Europe 4. Has 3 Stanley Cup Rings, 2-time Olympian, 3-time All-Star & currently has 692 regular season NHL games under his belt 5. Never played an NHL game until he was 26

Name: Brian Rafalski


Evidently, irregardless to how he got here, he is here and he is showing some promise. And if our coaches, scouting staff and a man by the name of Ron Francis are ok with that, than count me in.


Last edited by Guerzy: 06-04-2009 at 10:24 AM.
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06-04-2009, 09:13 AM
  #8
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Anton Babchuk the HF poster = Bill James of hockey

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06-04-2009, 09:14 AM
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I'm sure some people won't be surprised by my response, but we don't HAVE to keep Babchuk. Its not just his play in the playoffs, he's had Spazzchuk moments all during the regular season. People tend to overlook his spazziness b/c he has that hard shot. That shot is great don't get me wrong, but once he started scoring on the PP and teams realized he wasn't a guy you should leave open on the point, he didn't do *****.

Teams figured out that if you apply a tiny bit of pressure on him he freaks out and becomes a huge liability. That's what happened in the playoffs. Teams are going to continue to pressure him as that's his weakness and honestly I'm not sure he'll ever overcome that.

Carson and Rodney don't spazz. They make better decisions in their end and they can actually skate.

However, with all that said, I think Babchuk takes the offer he is given. Which will be another year to prove his worth. Seidenberg walks. One of Carson/Rodney makes the team.

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06-04-2009, 10:03 AM
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Easy on the kool-aid Anton. yikes. A one dimensional slowfooted defenseman is never a must sign. Hell Jamie Heward had a cannon shot and he was hardly a useable dman. Ive seen the midgets playing between periods that hit more than Anton. I like him for the right price but i agree with JR " take it or leave it"

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06-04-2009, 11:36 AM
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06-04-2009, 11:39 AM
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He plays like Adrian aucoins much less physical, far less balanced, effeminate little brother.

He can shoot. He can help the pp. It's worth keeping, ain't worth overpaying. He has no balance, he has no strength in the corners. He is slow to cover the net. He was deemed less than kaberle in the most important games of the year. Who cares about regular season goals?

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06-04-2009, 11:41 AM
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I guess I want him back. I mean, I've always been in the pro-anton camp. I just wish he would play physical. He is the softest 6-5 player I have ever seen. This guy should be destroying opposing forwards but instead he gives them time and space to make him look foolish. imo, if he was knocking people on their *****, he would be infinitely more effective. He also HAS TO work on his skating, but hopefully he'll get that together soon. I'd sign him 3 years 1.5 per. He needs to take his all-around game to the next level though.

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06-04-2009, 12:31 PM
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He's pretty much Vasicek playing D.

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06-04-2009, 01:01 PM
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Yyyaaaawwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnn

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06-04-2009, 01:05 PM
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he has a huge shot but he misses the net alot as well. i want to keep him though

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06-04-2009, 02:01 PM
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He falls under the must sign category for me. At least for one year. I think Carolina has the same idea. If he can prove that there is development in his game and have at least a modest showing in the playoffs next year (See what I did there), then he's probably worth keeping for the long haul.

It's odd how the tunes change from a couple of playoff series' between who is valuable and who is trash. Jokinen became God's gift to the 2nd line center role next season and a must retain based on a number of clutch goals while he did next to nothing in the regular season, and i'm one of the most staunch supporters of Jokinen you'll find, and Babchuk was the inverse of that property and now the fanbase has cooled dramatically on him. Chad Larose is another guy that did the same thing. It went from $1.5 would be a cap crippling move for him to most being willing to give that and more for him.

The odd exception to this is Tuomo Ruutu. He was outscored by Ryan Bayda in the postseason this year and people are still cool with giving him the $3.5 million and not thinking twice. I wonder how JR feels in regards to the Ruutu situation.

JR has a major disdain for Russian players and it's obvious with the way he treated Irbe (Latvian, I know), and now Babchuk.... it seems a bit odd. When an organization that thrives on team loyalty clearly dismisses a player without question it makes you wonder as to how long Babchuk would feel comfortable staying around here. With the way he has been treated, it wouldn't shock me to see him bolt for UFA status the first chance he gets.

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06-04-2009, 02:31 PM
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No one misses the net more than Corvo. That was pretty much the story of his playoff career this year.

Announcer: Corvo, who's got a rocket of a shot, fires!
...
Announcer: And it's wide/high/out of play.

As for Babs, give him another year, have him consistently in the lineup and see what happens. Show confidence in him and his play will improve, pretty much what they did with Ward.

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06-04-2009, 04:37 PM
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Guerzy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vagrant View Post
He falls under the must sign category for me. At least for one year. I think Carolina has the same idea. If he can prove that there is development in his game and have at least a modest showing in the playoffs next year (See what I did there), then he's probably worth keeping for the long haul.

Definitely agree, as much as he sometimes frustrates me and how his performance in the playoffs rolled out in utter disappointment. Anton Babchuk isn't the kind of defenceman I tend to fall in love with. Another year atleast to see what he's got.

Quote:
It's odd how the tunes change from a couple of playoff series' between who is valuable and who is trash. Jokinen became God's gift to the 2nd line center role next season and a must retain based on a number of clutch goals while he did next to nothing in the regular season, and i'm one of the most staunch supporters of Jokinen you'll find, and Babchuk was the inverse of that property and now the fanbase has cooled dramatically on him. Chad Larose is another guy that did the same thing. It went from $1.5 would be a cap crippling move for him to most being willing to give that and more for him.
Sometimes that's how the cards fall. Prove your worth when it counts. As a fan many gain trust in a player when he steps up to the plate when the games mean the most. As you yourself previously stated, we have to find a way to keep Chad Larose at almost any cost. As for Jokinen, I have few doubts that he will falter and be a failure in Carolina. He's proven at the most critical time to be an effective asset in a few roles here and I believe next season we'll see him used to his strengths. Some may see him as one-dimensional, I see him as versatile. I wouldnt doubt for a second Jussi is used with a purpose next season and flourishes. A 40-45 point season for me, is realistic. I doubt he'll be 2nd line center though as Cullen will more than likely be there, but 3rd line I see. In an organization such as Carolina, those players for whatever reason, just fit JR's mold.

Sometimes it takes the critical times when the games mean the most to see what a player is really made of and what he can bring to the table when used in the right situation. LaRose & Jokinen both proved to fall in that column and therefore proved their worth of importance to a franchise such as this. If we're not going to spend to the cap, or simply use the money we have in order to build this team around higher end talents along with Staal, than we need low key guys like the LaRose's and Jokinen's of the world, it's how we roll.. or, how JR rolls.

Quote:
The odd exception to this is Tuomo Ruutu. He was outscored by Ryan Bayda in the postseason this year and people are still cool with giving him the $3.5 million and not thinking twice. I wonder how JR feels in regards to the Ruutu situation.
I would bet JR feels fine. I don't see Tuomo's performance as an exception. Cole on the other hand, yes. In my mind there were very few games (if any) where Tuomo wasn't one of our best players. His stats don't show that, but everything he brought each game to me was impressive. He played the way I expect guys to play in the playoffs. Grit, determination & the heart on his sleeve. Offensive production would have been nice, obviously, and could have definitely been used, but there is more to Ruutu's game than the numbers show and I don't believe his playoff perfromance should be knocked for lack of production. For his first playoff, I give him fairly high marks. With that said, in an organization such as this, if you are going to be earning 3.5 you better produce. And that is true, but for me, Ruutu produces in more ways than just on the scoresheet and I think that was evident in the playoffs. There wasn't hardly a playoff game (if any at all) where I didnt think to myself 'Tuomo Ruutu showed up tonight.' With that said, in the future, there will come a time when push comes to shove and if you are playing for this organization earning that coin (what he is going to get) you have to produce in order for the team to reach success.

Opposite effect - see #26, Erik Cole. Had he of shown up on the score sheet throughout the playoffs, I, along with many others would probably welcome him back at 3 or so million without much hesitation. He simply didn't. The worst part of it is he was very ineffective throughout the playoffs as a whole, unlike Ruutu. The stats show he threw his body, but all in all, he was simply non-existent and a minor factor. I cannot say the same thing about Tuomo Ruutu.


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06-04-2009, 07:48 PM
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impeach estaalo
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Babchuk does have his problems in defensive zone. However, I believe his positives on the offensive side of the game far outweigh his negatives. Hence how he led the D with a +13 rating last season. Sometimes you have to live with a defenseman's faults if that player is as good on the offensive side of the puck as Babchuk is.

Losing Babchuk means we are losing a big part of last year's team, regardless of his playoff performance. Haven't we learned from '02 and '06 that stocking up on playoff heroes does little good in the regular season? Let's not forget the deals that were given out to the likes of Hedican/Kaberle/Wallin, handing the starting job to Ward 1-2 years early, etc.

As for Bryan Rodney: A 24-year old like Rodney should be dominating the AHL (which he did with 36 points in 58 games). He looked semi-decent as a call-up getting 10 minutes a game, but how would that translate over a full season in the NHL with more minutes? I haven't seen anything other than his oulet passing that would suggest that Rodney is better defensively than Babchuk. IMO Rodney at the NHL level will be #6 defenseman/powerplay specialist. I see a lot more than that in Babchuk.

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06-04-2009, 07:57 PM
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I dont know what all this complaining is about. Babchuk will be signed, for 1 year, between 1 and 1.5 million. Even if he stays the same thats fair value for 15 goals and 20 assist or whatever he puts up in that area. Babchuk is fine for the third pairing at worst.

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06-04-2009, 08:01 PM
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I think the point of this discussion is are you willing to pay for the offense and ignore the defense for now hoping it will come. Like Ive said before, i dont think anyone want Babs to go, but if he wants market value for his offensive numbers despite the huge deficiencies on the back end then we are going to have a problem.

You can make the +13 fit whichever side of the argument you want. I could point out that most of his minutes came against the bottom 6 so the number isnt that impressive. And it was shown to be faulty when the playoff started and teams stopped playing the bottom 3, heavily played matchups(getting guys out against Babchuk especially physical forwards), and started double shifting top 6 guys.

We all want Babs back but if he prices himself out then so be it. The hard shot from the point isnt that tough to find. Corvo cost us rentals and Babchuk cost us an AHL lifer. All this is moot until Jr makes an offer and Babs takes it or counters with a number. You can bet if he asks for something out of whack that JR will make it public. he has already played shenanigans with Anton once.

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06-04-2009, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton Babchuk View Post
I haven't seen anything other than his oulet passing that would suggest that Rodney is better defensively than Babchuk. .
You make it sounds like that is a minor thing. The canes might have won a game against Pittsburgh with better outlet passing.......and unlike Anton, Rodney and Carson both got their jerseys dirty in the corners. lets be fair...all 3 of these guys are likely 5/6 defensemen


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anton Babchuk View Post
IMO Rodney at the NHL level will be #6 defenseman/powerplay specialist. I see a lot more than that in Babchuk.
Based on what exactly? He is a poor passer. He hasnt shown any abillity to clear the front of the net. And he wont hit anything. I like the guy i really do. But i like him for what he is...a#6 defenseman/powerplay specialist

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06-04-2009, 08:10 PM
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I think Babchuk is being made out to be a Mike Green or Dion Phaneuf in his own zone and I don't think that's accurate. He does have something to offer in the defensive end of the ice, it just comes and goes. The inconsistency, that may or may not be a result of inexperience, is what haunts him. Very few defensemen come out of Russia unable to play at least a modest defensive game. He's still figuring it out and he's VERY confidence driven. More than any Hurricanes player i've ever seen. When he's scoring goals, his defense is a hell of a lot better than it is when he's not because that assertive nature carries over in his play.

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06-04-2009, 08:12 PM
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impeach estaalo
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Originally Posted by eerodynamic View Post
I think the point of this discussion is are you willing to pay for the offense and ignore the defense for now hoping it will come. Like Ive said before, i dont think anyone want Babs to go, but if he wants market value for his offensive numbers despite the huge deficiencies on the back end then we are going to have a problem.

You can make the +13 fit whichever side of the argument you want. I could point out that most of his minutes came against the bottom 6 so the number isnt that impressive. And it was shown to be faulty when the playoff started and teams stopped playing the bottom 3, heavily played matchups(getting guys out against Babchuk especially physical forwards), and started double shifting top 6 guys.

We all want Babs back but if he prices himself out then so be it. The hard shot from the point isnt that tough to find. Corvo cost us rentals and Babchuk cost us an AHL lifer. All this is moot until Jr makes an offer and Babs takes it or counters with a number. You can bet if he asks for something out of whack that JR will make it public. he has already played shenanigans with Anton once.
I get your point about Babchuk's quality of opposition...but if that was the reason for his good +/-, why didn't Kaberle (-5) and Wallin (-1) post similar +/- ratings? Why did Babchuk go +13 while playing top 4 minutes with Pitkanen?

As for the hard shot from the point not being tough to find, I disagree. Richmond was not an "AHL lifer" at the time he was traded. He was thought to be an equal prospect to Babchuk, though obviously it did not turn out that way. Corvo was traded for two highly sought-after rentals, one of whom (Stillman) was having a great season. We probably could have got a late 1st for Stillman and a 2nd for Commodore if we traded them separately for picks.

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