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It's Official - Anton Babchuk Gets 1.5 Million From Avangard Omsk

Anton Babchuk has always been a bit of an enigma while with the Carolina Hurricanes, but what a one-timer he has. (photo byLTD)

Last week, I prepared some season preview information for Vadim Kuznetsov who writes for the Tribuna, a popular online Russian Sports Magazine.  Vadim asked me for my opinions about Anton Babchuk and Sergei Samsonov, and we also discussed other questions about the Hurricanes as well. 

There was a rumor earlier this week that Babchuk, a player who had a tremendous second half of last season, but struggled in the playoffs, had signed with Avangard Omsk, the same team he played for in 2007-08.  The Canes could not confirm this and even Babchuk's agent could not reach his client for confirmation.

That news is now official though as the young defenseman indeed signed with Omsk for the equivalent of $1.5 million.  Today, Vadim was nice enough to send me an email saying that Babchuk scored a goal in his first game with his old team.  Not surprisingly, the youngster also broke the glass in his first practice with Omsk.

The good news for the Hurricanes is that they still hold the rights to the Kiev native and he could still play for the Canes or they could trade his rights in the future.  During one of my interviews with Babchuk last year, he told me that he preferred to stay in the NHL, but he seems to misunderstand some of the rules regarding arbitration and free agency because he has not made decisions which would enable him to maximize his earnings potential. 

We wish him good luck this season.