Ilya Lyubushkin played one season in Buffalo. ©2023, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres trade Ilya Lyubushkin to Ducks

The Buffalo Sabres trimmed their defense corps Friday night, trading Ilya Lyubushkin to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2025.

The Sabres had nine defensemen on one-way contracts prior to dealing Lyubushkin, who’s entering the final season of a two-year, $5.5 million contract.

While Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams has said he would be comfortable having a surfeit of defensemen in training camp, it wasn’t surprising the Sabres made a move.

The recent signings of right-shot defenders Connor Clifton and Erik Johnson made Lyubushkin expendable.

Trading Lyubushkin gives the Sabres $8,776,430 of projected salary cap space, according to, enough room to make a significant addition.

The 6-foot-2, 201-pound Lyubushkin, 29, offered the Sabres grit on the back end last season following his arrival in free agency. He consistently laid hard open-ice checks, sometimes drawing the ire of opponents.

The Russian compiled two goals, 14 points and 38 penalty minutes in 68 games last season.

The Ducks are Lyubushkin’s fourth team since the start of the 2021-22 season. He also played for the Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs.

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