The Growlers are adding one more former Grizzly.
The Newfoundland Growlers’ latest signing is Russian forward Semyon Babintsev, who has agreed to a one-year ECHL contract with the expansion team.
He’s the fourth player signed directly by the Growlers and second to have played for the ECHL’s Utah Grizzlies in 2017-18. The other is defenceman and Goulds native James Melindy.
Babintsev, who will turn 24 in October, played in three leagues, including the ECHL, in 2017-18.
He appeared in 22 games with the Grizzlies, collecting a dozen points on four goals and eight assists for 12 points, along with six penalty minutes. The Moscow native also played in Russia, suiting up in six games with Sokol Krasnoyarsk of the VHL, a second division circuit.
Babintsev played in 186 games over three seasons with the Mississauga Steelheads of the Ontario Hockey League, registering 39 goals, 49 assists, 88 points and 60 penalty minutes.
Since leaving the junior ranks, the 6-foot, 190-pound left-handed shooter has also played in professional leagues in Kazakhstan and the Czech Republic and also had a short stint in the Kontinental Hockey League.
The Growlers play their first regular-season game in less than nine weeks ,and four signed players — Newfoundland forward Marcus Power and Latvian defenceman Kristians Rubins are the other two — is a long way from a 20-player active roster. However, the majority of players for the Growlers will come through their affiliation with the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and AHL’s Toronto Marlies.
As of Tuesday, the Maple Leafs had almost four dozen players signed to NHL contracts for the 2018-19 season and another 18 on AHL deals with the Marlies, meaning the trickle down of players to the Growlers will probably be more of a flow.