I’ve heard both sides of the argument about Babchuck. Is he worth 2.5 million a year? Is he the minus 4 player in Carolina or the plus 14 player in Calgary? Is he defensively sound? One of the most compelling arguments I have heard that is that Babchuck played sheltered minutes, Kent Wilson of flamesnation.com brought this up first.
I think what that basically means to me is that Sutter knows how to utilize Babchuck and that he was used in an ineffective way in Carolina. This means that Babchuck does not take as many defensive zone assignments off the face off and gets easy powerplay minutes as well but you know what? He was plus 14 and scored six goals on the powerplay, that is tied for second on the team. Given what some defensemen were dragging down I think 2.5 million is a pretty good deal. His deal included a no trade clause and there has been some laughter about this but if you read my blog you know I think they’re worthless and if it gets a lower cap hit then even better.
The answer to Babchuck is that he is capable of playing defence, if he is utilized effectively then he is a bonus offensively and he has the size to not be pushed around. He’s a decent guy to have on the back end and I think he’ll be fine this year. The major question is can he log top four minutes? Things have changed since Regehr left, the minutes will be spred more evenly I believe and that should also boost Bouwmeesters output.
I see the pairings as follows:
Bouwmeester Sarich (left and right shot)
Babchuck Giordano (left and right shot)
Carson Butler (left and right shot)
Brodie (left shot)