Anton Babchuk can likely be coaxed from Calgary with a little bonus and a couple years on a contract. Photo: Wikipedia

Free Agent Blue Plate - Anton Babchuk

We’ve profiled prospective free agents James Wisniewski of Montréal and Kevin Bieksa from Vancouver.

The Oilers have some, uh…”interesting” results when they pursue a fat contract. So what if the situation arises where both Wisniewski and Bieksa aren’t viable options for the Oilers?

Sometimes, other options are closer than you think.

NAME: Anton Babchuk

TEAM: Calgary Flames

DOB: 06 MAY 1984 (27)

2010-11 NUMBERS:  11G-24A-35 PTS with CAR/CGY, 32 PIM in 82 GP

2010-11 SALARY: $1,400,000, will be UFA on July 1st, 2011.

This is a signing that should happen.  This signing should happen on July 1st as soon as Anton Babchuk rolls out of bed.  He should get a phone call and the first thing he hears is “Congratulations and welcome to Edmonton”.

Like Wisniewski and Bieksa, Anton Babchuk could immediately help the Oilers on the blue line.  When I lived in Carolina, I got to see quite a bit of Babchuk when he was a member of the Hurricanes, and if the Oilers can pick him up at a reasonable price, it should be nothing but green lights.

 

WHY BABCHUK?

Now in the Northwest, you might have caught Babchuk in a couple of games with the Flames. Babchuk’s greatest strength is his shot. He had a cannon when he was 22, and it’s gotten stronger over the years.  He’s had two straight years of 35 points, and he’s been a quality player on a Calgary defence that’s not going to turn any heads otherwise.  At 27, Babchuk is entering the prime real estate of his career. Babchuk played 65 games and racked 27 points up with the Flames, good for second overall among Calgary defence.  Did I mention he finished at +18?

I’m not done yet.

Babchuk played an average of just 15:39 minutes per game last year.  Think anyone could squeeze maybe three or four more minutes out of him per game?  5 PP goals, and a shooting percentage of over 9%.

Interested yet?  You ought to be.

Another reason I see this signing to be more than feasible is…

CALGARY’S PURSE STRINGS ARE ABOUT TO GET TIGHTER

While the Flames aren’t experiencing the financial disarray of the Los Angeles Dodgers, their cap space is getting lean.  If you didn’t know or don’t believe me, go on to CapGeek and take a look for yourself.

Mark Giordano led all Calgary defence, and for that was rewarded with a $20M contract over the next five years.  Add to the mix our old buddy Curtis Glencross getting $10.2M thrown at him for a new contract, and carry the one, divide by zero, and you’ll see that the Flames have about three million loonies left in the bank for next season.  Are they going to resign Babchuk?  Alex Tanguay?

They might also want to address the fact that they’ll need a backup goaltender somewhere in there.

Calgary’s purse is tight, Babchuk doesn’t break the bank, and he’d fit in the lineup on opening night without a trouble.

I would be absolutely thrilled to see Edmonton get ahold of Anton Babchuk at the beginning of July.  This is a player that should be in Oiler colours next season.   Start at $2M over 3 years and see where it leads you.

If Babchuk is available on the first of July, this is a signing that should happen.

Have your say:  Do you think Babchuk is a good fit on the Oilers?  If you sign him, for how much, and for how long?

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Tags: Anton Babchuk

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