The Canes will be playing a preseason exhibition game this fall in Russia against St. Petersburg of the KHL, and Jim Rutherford said today defenseman Anton Babchuk could be playing for Carolina in that game.
Rutherford said he is optimistic the Hurricanes will reach an agreement with Babchuk that would being him back to the NHL. Babchuk left the Canes after the 2008-2009 season and played this past season with Avangard Omsk of the KHL.
Rutherford said he has had a number of conversations in the past two weeks with Babchuk's agent.
"We want to sign him and bring him back," Rutherford said. "We are moving along in the process."
Babchuk, who had 16 goals and 35 points for the Canes in the '09 season, was a restricted free agent after that season but had no arbitration rights. He initially was offered a one-year, $1 million contract by Carolina but opted to return to Russia for a reported $1.5 million.
On playing a preseason game against a KHL team, given the strained relationship the past few years between the NHL and KHL, Rutherford said, "There is a little more at stake going into Russia to play. We'll see how it turns out.
"It should be a good experience for our players. It will be good for us and good for the league."