No Surprise: Hurricanes Sign Anton Babchuk — One Year, $1.4M

The inevitable became a reality on Day 1 of the NHL's free agency period with the Hurricanes bringing twice-defected blueliner Anton Babchuk to Raleigh. The 26-year-old defenseman signed a one-year deal worth $1.4 million.

The release from the team is after the jump.

HURRICANES AGREE TO TERMS WITH ANTON BABCHUK

Defenseman agrees to one-year deal after season in KHL

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 deal. The contract will pay Babchuk $1.4 million in 2010-11.

"We’re happy to be bringing Anton back to the Hurricanes." Said Rutherford. "His has a big shot and he really came into his own offensively for us during the 2008-09 season. He will be an important contributor to our success next season."

Babchuk, 26, spent the 2009-10 season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), skating in 49 games with Avangard Omsk. The Kiev, Ukraine, native led all Omsk defensemen in goals (9), points (22), power-play goals (4), game-winning goals (2) and plus/minus (+17). Babchuk (6’5", 212 lbs.) also played in the 2010 KHL All-Star Game in Minsk, scoring a goal for Team Yashin, and skated in two playoff games for Omsk without registering a point.

Prior to spending last season in the KHL, Babchuk established single-season NHL career highs in games played (72), goals (16), assists (19) and points (35) for the Hurricanes in 2008-09. He ranked tied for fifth among NHL defensemen in goals (16), tied for third in game-winning goals (4) and tied for eighth in power-play goals (9), as he became just the fourth defenseman in franchise history to score 16 goals in a season, and the first since Zarley Zalapski netted 20 in 1991-92. Acquired by the Hurricanes on Jan. 20, 2006, in exchange for Danny Richmond and a fourth-round draft pick, Babchuk has totaled 21 goals and 33 assists (44 points) in 146 games with Carolina. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the first round (21st overall) of the 2002 NHL Entry Draft, and has 61 points (23g, 38a) in 168 career NHL games with Chicago and Carolina.

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