Ducks acquire defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin from Sabres in exchange for 2025 fourth-round pick

The Anaheim Ducks have acquired Ilya Lyubushkin from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a 2025 fourth-round draft pick, the teams announced Friday. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Lyubushkin notched two goals and 12 assists in his lone season with the Sabres during 2022-23.
  • The 29-year-old began his NHL career by signing with the Arizona Coyotes as an undrafted defenseman in 2018-19. He spent his first three seasons with the Coyotes.
  • Lyubushkin has played 279 games during his five-year tenure, recording five goals and 34 assists.

The Athletic’s instant analysis:

Why this made sense for Sabres

The Sabres needed to move out a defenseman after adding Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton during free agency. With those additions, Buffalo had 10 defensemen under contract who played in the NHL last season.

Trading Lyubushkin made sense. He had one year left on a contract with a $2.75 million cap hit. He’s a right shot defenseman who brought some needed physicality and penalty killing experience to Buffalo last season, but Johnson and Clifton will fill that role going forward.

The 2025 fourth-round pick isn’t much, but it’s another asset for a potential in-season trade.

Now the Sabres have a more manageable group of defensemen heading into the season. Rasmus Dahlin, Mattias Samuelsson, Owen Power, Henri Jokiharju, Johnson and Clifton should make up the top six defensemen. That will leave Riley Stillman, Jacob Bryson and Kale Clague competing for a roster spot or two.

Buffalo still has enough depth to make another trade if they choose, but that’s a decent group with which to head into the season.

This move also opened up $2.75 million in cap space for the Sabres, but they weren’t desperate for wiggle room under the cap. Buffalo could use another forward to give them more options while Jack Quinn misses time with an Achilles injury. General manager Kevyn Adams will also continue to monitor the trade market between now and the start of training camp, but this could be the roster the Sabres take to camp. — Fairburn


The 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenseman finished his 2021-22 campaign with the Toronto Maple Leafs after being traded from the Coyotes earlier in the season. While in Toronto, Lyubushkin scored two goals and four assists in 31 games before signing with Buffalo as a free agent.

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(Photo: Graham Stokes / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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