Anton Babchuk Update



According to agent Jay Grossman, Anton Babchuk is near to signing a two-yer deal with the Calgary Flames.

I’ve made my feelings on Babchuk pretty clear in the past. His lone noteworthy skill is his big shoot, which is pretty useful whenever he’s in the offensive zone. He’s a fairly limited player otherwise, however, and will have to be actively sheltered much the same way he was last year in order to be truly effective. He has never played in a top-four role in the NHL, so the goal should be avoid paying him like a top-four defender.

More analysis when things are made official.

UPDATE – Twitter reports are trickling in indicating the deal has been signed. Still waiting on terms.

UPDATE II – Flames have announced the official terms as $2.5M per year for two years. We’ll cover this signing more completely as the week moves along.

  • Vintage Flame

    Wow.. 2.5M / year. What did Hejda sign for again?
    3.25M. I hope this kid can pull off similar stats this year. Going to be interesting to see what his role is.. If it expands.

  • It isn’t great, but compared to some of the other deals…

    I’m okay with it if he puts up 10-15 goals on the PP. Just having the threat of that shot back there spreads out the penalty killers and makes life a lot easier on the forwards.

    You know that he won’t ever see the ice during the PK, so they just need to manage his even strength minutes…

  • Canucks Suck

    Looks like our D will look something like this:



    3)Babchuk-Carson/Brodie(depending on training camp and preseason)

    PK Bouwmeester-Gio, Sarich-Butler
    PP Bouwmeester-Gio, Babchuk-Butler/Brodie

    Hope Kipper drinks his 5 Hour Energy drink before each of his 70 games.

    Karlsson really needs to play 20 games this year. Not 15, maybe 18 but 20 or 23 games for sure. Kipper will need the mental breaks.

    I still have hope for this team, but ask me again come the New Year.

    Go Flames Go!

  • PDumes

    Face it. Babchuk was the best option at defense among the UFA’s. He’s under 30, and can generate some PPG opportunities. Babchuk > McCabe, Hannan and whatever else scraps were out there.

    And as Casey pointed out this signing makes Edmonton look even more stupid.

    • Robert Cleave

      How does this make the Oilers stupid? They get a former first rounder for cheaper pay…its only one year deal and we can get rid of him as opposed to a NTC on Babchuk who is at best a career 5-6 defenceman…who exactly is stupid?

  • Why are the Flames signing mediocre defenceman? They now have Butler, Carson, Babchuk, and they gave Mikkelssson a qualifying offer cuz hes an RFA. Having depth is a good thing, but when you may want to go after quality over quantity.

  • Can’t complain about this one guys, low cap hit (compared to other signings around the league) & short term.

    Babchuk is a 5D, PP specialist. Flames play him in this role all year & he’s fine. Much rather us pay for a guy to score goals on the PP than sign a guy that only knows how to fight.

    I think we are gonna be hard pressed all year against the heavier teams, but I think we’re headed in the right direction. Feaster may not be Ken Holland, but he’s a heck of a lot better than Daryl Sutter.

  • Now, let’s talk about the prospect of Regehr being traded being a great ‘salary dump’. Well, 2.5 million of Reggie’s 4.0million is now into the specialist Anton Babchuk.

    That leaves us with 1.5 million. Take away 700k (like Mikkelson) for a 6th pairing and you’re at 800k.

    So are the Flames better with Babchuk and a 6th/7th slot? Or Regehr? That’s easy. Salary dumps need to consider the replacement parts.

    Flames D in 2009

    Flames D Today

    Brutal Feaster. Another Brutal move.

    Regehr (4.0m) > Babchuk + Sarich (5.2m).

    Sutter screwed up Phaneuf (6.5) > Sarich + Staios (6.3).

    We’ve gone from punishing D to soft D. Gio in a top pairing is scary. Sarich in a top four is scary. Babchuk in a top four is scary.

    Miikka better invest in a time machine, or get better quick.

    • Derzie

      “need to consider the replacement parts”

      Pot meet kettle. the 2.5M does not come out of Regher’s 4M because we had Babchuk on payroll before… he accounts for only the difference between his old contract and new.

      • Sure, you can look at it that way if you like, but I think it’s better to look at assets and asset management.

        The only true salary “dump” was Staios. But if someone MOVES into another guys roster hole, you’re STILL paying that money for that roster spot.

        If you think Jbo, Gio, Cory, Babs, Butler and Carson at 18.6mil. for 6 defenders

        is better than

        Jbo, Reggie, Gio, Cory, Babs and Pardy at 16.7million,

        then we see talent/value differently.

        Of course, keeping Gio and Reggie with Gio’s raise would have increased that number by 3 million dollars. BUT that’s my point:

        We could have kept Reggie, NOT resigned Babchuk, lost Staios, and promoted a youth in Pardy’s spot, and been only about 1 million more invested in top 6 “D”… sufficiently covered by the cap increase with room to spare when you consider Staois’ overpay for the 7th man.

        Instead we lost our best defenseman and overpaid for a hard shot, haven’t turned our best “d” asset into draft picks, haven’t saved much/any money. AND we had to give up a second rounder as well. FAIL.

        • loudogYYC


          That should be 16.8 with Carson at 500k last year.

          Or 17.0 with Pardy. But, injury time may have messed those numbers up a bit. And I’m not sure why Cap Geek has Gio’s hit at 891k not 1.07.

          even at 17.5 million, the point still stands. we’re paying MORE this year for LESS talent than we had last year, and less draft picks (-2nd rounder).

          That’s the opposite of what George McPhee is doing.

        • Oh no, I absolutely agree The D with Reggie is better then the the D without (I don’t know how much better though, unlike baseball it’s hard to quantify hockey players since as far as I know we don’t have something akin to W.A.R.)… I’m just taking issue with you not accounting for the amount of money Babchuk made last year in that calculation. I’d hold off fully evaluating the trade until we see what Feaster does with the remainder of the cap space (if anything).

        • CitizenFlame

          Nice to see you giving this trade a chance, as you’ve given it a fail 3 months before the season starts. Why not see what the 24 year old Butler can do in the Flaming C before completely writing the trade off.

          • I have no problem with Reggie being moved, as long as the return is reflected in trade return. Tacking the 2nd on pretty much killed that, and Regehr was such good contract value.

            I also don’t have a problem with Babchuk being re-signed, but being paid 2.5 million for a third pairing guy isn’t financially sensible.

            Third pairing guys shouldn’t be making more than 1-1.5million or a combined 3 million together. The cap is 64mil/22 (13,7,2)= 2.9million per player. Your top two line should be above and bottom two below… same with d. Same with goalies.

            If you’re paying a 5th/6th man 2.5million, you’re taking away from your top players. Unless they have plans to play Babchuk and Sarich in 3/4 which would be an unmitigated disaster.

            None of this has anything to do with Butler… it has to do with our poor handling of assets and our poor signings.

  • Derzie

    Complain, complain, complain. Babchuk is a good signing. Sensible under the new cap. Excellent plus/minus. Showed good heart in the 2nd half. Not too old. At least PDumes is talking sense. No more overpaid geezers. The gamble to shed Reggie to get enough cap to go after Brad Richards backfired. I’d hoped Connolly was next in line but the Leafs grabbed him. If Morrison is healthy, grab him. Not much left out there unless you go the offer sheet route. That would be dumb since we need to keep picks.

  • Derzie

    I know that the stats show that he was heavily sheltered last year but if you look at his point totals, between Car/Cal, he had 35 points and was a plus 14. If we look at Giordano, in the same number of games he was 43 points but minus 8 (granted he was against tougher competition)yet most fans thought that Giordano did alright last year.
    I like this signing as he gives us the hard point shot that seems to actually get through to the goalie and I can live with some of his defensive shortcomings.
    I think the Flames are no longer wanting a slow, hard hitting defense but rather a shot-blocking, quick transition defense and I think that is why they are auditioning Clay Wilson to see what he offers and also bringing up Brodie this year.

  • Robert Cleave

    Giving up a second rounder in the Regehr trade was absolutly dumb. That handcuffed us to the possibility of making an offer to Parise or Stamkos. After this coming season the Flames have Lankow at 4.5, Hagman at 3, Olli at 3 and Sarich at 3.4 all coming off the books. Aside from Sharp and Hemsky that FA pool is pretty shallow as well. Now would have been the time to move on Parise…

  • Derzie

    I might be in the minority but I really like this signing. 11 goals (I think was his stat) from a dman is pretty good and most people thought he would demand 4 mil on the open market. I think he improved a lot under sutter and is young enough to keep improving. Better than paying adam pardy 2 mil per and I don’t see anyone on the open market that is a better fit for this team. Either way its not an earth shattering deal, short term, lower cash, low risk. I would of made this signing if I was feaster.

  • loudogYYC

    Hmm, last year we were the 4th best team in the league at shots against per game at 28.5. Given the look of our new defensive core, any predictions on what that number will look like next season?

    Kipper better earn some of his money next year or this could get ugly fast.

    The Flames’ lineup as of today is:

    Tanguay – Backlund – Iginla
    Glencross – Langkow – Bourque
    Hagman – Jokinen – Moss
    Kostopoulos – Stajan – Jackman
    (FML – Ivanans?)

    Bouwmeester – Giordano
    Sarich – Butler
    Babchuk – Brodie? Mikkelson? Carson?


    October 8 – home to Pittsburgh to open the season. I can’t say I am counting down the days, can you?

    • I wonder if any of the folks that said I was an idiot a few weeks back for saying that giving a NMC to Glencross was a harbinger of bad things to come still feel the same way?

      Once you give a NMC to a 3rd/4th liner (albeit a very good one) you make it so everyone else will want one. I don’t care that some of these are just “modified” NTCs. Any GM that lets that many of his players limit where they go is not doing a good job. Sutter messed up by doing this and Feaster appears to be doing more of the same.

  • loudogYYC

    I am okay with the signing. Only 2-seasons and at a reasonable cap hit. I was worried he was going to get a long term contract or 3-million +.

    The D got a whole lot more mobile but a whole lot less physical, especially with Sarich on the last season of his contract. I hope that they can fill the number 4 spot with a rotation or Brodie, Butler, Carson, and Babchuk.

    They should have 4 or even 5 million to add to D next season which should give us a decent, if not great, core.

  • Greg

    Jeepers, glad the comments have mellowed out towards the end of this discussion. Does this address our need for a top 4 dman? No. But we did need another defenceman and look at the other options. Would you rather lock up 4-5.5 million for the next 4 or 5 years on kaberle? Or maybe give a 2-3 year term to a plus-35 McCabe? It’s a two year contract, and I thought for sure Babchuk would get over $3M and several years. Its not a perfect solution, but For what he provides it’s another decent value contract relative to what the market was this summer. It’s duct-taping a hole, but it doesn’t add more contract issues for the future.

    Seriously, if you are going to complain about it, offer a better solution. I don’t think there was one out there. And doing nothing would leave you icing at least 3 defencemen every night who had never made it through a full NHL season.

    • Greg

      Totally agree bud. It’s frustrating to see the direction this thing is heading but anyone who didnt see it coming are delusional. The $$$ are a little high for my liking,but it was more important about only being a 2 year term. I like the fact we are going to let Brodie, Butler & Carson prove they are top 4 d material. Chances are Sarich is shipped out as a rental to a contender at the end of next Feb. This young of a D is going to force Brent into playing Karlson the 20-25 games & we’ll see if he is number 1 goalie material. If he is, Kipper’s NMC is expires the end of this year & his salary versus cap hit drops significantly as well, and as a goalie, there is value to be had, so could get interesting.

  • If we look at Giordano, in the same number of games he was 43 points but minus 8 (granted he was against tougher competition)yet most fans thought that Giordano did alright last year.

    Right, but Giordano started more often in the defensive zone, face tougher competition, had a much, much better possession and chances ratio. The only reason he was underwater was a lousy on-ice SV%, which is mostly driven by variance (luck).

    He’s a vastly superior player.

  • loudogYYC

    Is it just me or is there a serious lack of talent in the NHL?

    The Flames just signed probably their best/most logical option on Defense for $2.5M yet there are still lots of teams with tons of cap space and no real good players to cash in.

    There are some stacked teams in the league but the drop off after that is something I don’t remember seeing in a while.

    • Teams are tying up guys longer and longer term these days. And quality kids are rarely hitting the market after their ELC’s.

      A lot of people thought the new CBA would cause tons of movement and uncertainty, but GM’s have gone the other way: with huge, long-terms for anyone of any value.

        • Well, we’re still seeing big time trades now and then, just pathetically thin UFA markets as well.

          As for development camp, I skipped today’s proceedings because I had a bunch of stuff to do and this Babchuk thing dropped. I’ll check it out tomorrow though.

          • MC Hockey

            I will agree the UFA markets seem thinner compared to some of at least how I remember some of those pre-cap era summers, but that may just be perception.

            Assuming these UFA classes are thinner – I guess two things come to mind

            A) What feature of the CBA causes this particular alignment? While the “tails” in the long term deals is one answer, it also seems that teams are locking up potential free agents before they hit the market/players are not going to market as often. I think this is because with the cap, the variability in pay is less so stability means more?

            B) As a fan – is this better or worse? One of the complaints that I remember being levelled at the last CBA was that teams could not hold onto their free agents as they would get “bought out” by the expensive teams. While more fringe type players are moving (see Blackhawks, Chicago) it now seems more teams are keeping their core together. If you core is good and young, seems good. I suspect more fans will have more frustration as their cores get older and less good. (See Flames, Calgary)

          • I think there are number of causes. First, the ability to front-load deals. Secondly, the lowering of free agency to 7 years after signing pro contract, meaning most guys are going UFa between 25-28. That has kind of eliminated the “second contract” for any RFA worth a damn because teams are just locking them up for as long as they can.

            The constant increase of the cap also means consistent league-wide inflation of salaries. Therefore it often makes sense to pay for a guy in “today’s dollars”, because there’s a chance he’ll be a relative bargain X years down the road.

  • loudogYYC


    So basically most players of value, and some not so valuable, are all locked up and off the market leaving the talent pool pretty bare.

    Do you think the KHL plays a role here or what do you attribute the imbalance to?

  • MC Hockey

    I think all the naysayers are nuts on here. NUTS as Feaster paid BELOW market value! Check the stats and I question Zone Start at bottom. Why don’t we do look at the most comparable recent offensive D-man signings, eh?

    1. Ian White (Det) – $2.875M/year is not bad $ but he’s not HUGE (size cannot be taught)nor a shot blocker like Babchuk. Best season was 38 pts and +8 with Leafs/Flames, last year 26 pts and +3 with 3 teams.
    2. Cam Barker (Edm) – $2.25M/year is risky for concussed guy with only 5pts and -10 in 52 games last year, best year 40 pts in only 68GP and -6. So versus Babchuk is NOT better defensively.
    3. Sheldon Souray (Dal) – do I really need to do this for this guy? Babchuk any day….but salary of 1.65M is lower risk for Dallas than Barker in Edm at 2.25.
    4. Roman Hamrlik (Was) – $3.5M/year – best year 65 pts and -24 back in 1995-96. He is 35 years old and only 34 pts and +6 last year. Not as good as Babs.
    5. Ed Jovanovski (Fla) – $4.125M/year for FOUR years and he is 35 now. Best year 48 pts and -7 way back in Van in 2001-02. Can you say overpay and too long??
    6. Andy Greene (NJ) – $3M/yr for 4 years. Last year 23 pts and -23 on bad team. Best year 37 pts and +9 and older than Babchuk.
    7. James Wisniewski – $5.5M/yeaf for 6 years. Best year was last year with 51 pts with NYI/?Mtl but was -14.
    8. Christian Ehrhoff (Buf) – $ Best year was last year with 50 pts and +19 but on best REGULAR SEASON team in league. In playoffs had 12 pts but minus 13 in 23GP. And 1 year older than Babchuk.
    9. Kevin Bieksa (Van) – injury prone, last 4 years played 66, 55, 72, and 34 regular-season games. Last year 22 pts in 66GP and +32 on best reg season team. Good player but peo0ple forget he gets injured often.
    10. MA Bergeron (TB) – $1M/year for 2 years. He is 3 years older than Babchuk (30).Last year only played 23 reg season games as nobody would chance him till January and had 8 pts and -10. Playoffs 3 pts in 14 GP and -2.

    BABCHUK: 2 years at 2.5M each. Last year 35 pts and +14 in Car/Cgy so not terrible on D even if “protected”. Does that Zone Start statistic note that most Powerplay zone starts are obviously in the offenseive zone…I think NOT! Previous NHL year also had 35 pts in Carolina (2008-09) and then 22 pts and +17 in 49GP in KHL (2009-10) which is not known for letting D-man move up into play. Other things: 102MPH slap shot and 6 foot 5 D-men who skate well are NOT easy to find. FEASTER AND FLAMES WIN!!

    • The zone start stat only measures even strength face-offs. Meaning power-plays are excluded.

      We’ll more fully explain Babchuk’s red flags later this week.

      I’ll note that I think the Flames may be able to still leverage this contract to find value, although it’s going to be a lot trickier with Regehr gone and the lack of top-four options to shelter Babchuk. The term and the dollar figure could have been a lot worse though.