Carolina Hurricanes: Six degrees of Anton Babchuk

In keeping with the trend of tracking how previously traded draft picks panned out for the Carolina Hurricanes, we take a look back at a series of moves that began in July of 2005.

Whether or not to trade draft picks often leads to contentious debate.  Teams are loath to trade potential future stars for immediate help that may or may not work out.  Sometimes, these fears are realized; sometimes the picks are of little to no consequence.  Today we’re not looking at any trade involving a superstar, though it’s interesting to note how a series of trades a decade and a half ago plays into the Carolina Hurricanes’ of today.

So, we begin with a 4th round pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.  The pick belongs to the Columbus Blue Jackets.  On July 30, 2005, Columbus trades the pick—along with defenseman Derrick Walser—to the Carolina Hurricanes.  In return, the Blue Jackets get Carolina’s 4th round pick in the 2005 draft.  Let us not forget that the lockout pushed the draft back to the end of July.  Walser never played for the Hurricanes and was traded back to Columbus 16 months later.

The 2006 4th rounder won’t be sticking around long either, so don’t get attached.  On January 20, 2006, Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford traded the pick—along with Danny Richmond—to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for Anton Babchuk and a 4th rounder in 2007.  To the outside observer, the Hurricanes were just moonwalking their 4th round pick from draft to draft.  In reality, the Hockey Gods had something bigger in mind.  More on that in a bit.

Babchuk, an offensive defenseman with a huge frame, went on to play 163 games with Carolina, putting up 24 goals and 62 points.  His career year came in 2008-09 where he put up 16 goals and 19 assists in 72 games.  He suited up for 13 playoff games as the Hurricanes fought their way through New Jersey and Boston before being eliminated by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Babchuk had a decent stint with the Hurricanes before he was traded to the Calgary Flames in November of 2010.  That trade, however, has no bearing on our story, so let’s move on.

By moving on, I mean let’s go back.

Remember that 2006 4th round pick, the one that the Hurricanes received from Columbus and then traded to Chicago?  Good.  On June 24, 2006—five days after Carolina won the Stanley Cup—Chicago sent that pick as part of a package to Toronto in return for a 3rd round pick.  So, the 99th overall pick had originally been Columbus’ before being moved to Carolina, then Chicago, and now Toronto.

What would the Maple Leafs do with the pick?  Good question, fair reader!

They actually used it.  The player they selected?

Red Deer Rebels goaltender James Reimer.  Funny how things turn out when a little hindsight is applied.

Oh, I almost forgot something.  Remember that 4th round pick in 2007 that the Hurricanes acquired along with Babchuk?  It was part of the package that was sent to St. Louis in the Doug Weight trade.

And that, my friends, is history.

What are your thoughts on this chain of events?

Next: Four Hurricanes who've taken big steps
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