NHL Trade: Toronto Maple Leafs Acquire Ilya Lyubushkin

The NHL Trade Deadline is now eight days away, and we have our second trade in as many days. After the Calgary Flames traded defenseman Chris Tanev to the Dallas Stars, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin from the Anaheim Ducks.

As with the Tanev deal, the Maple Leafs needed a third team to be involved. The Maple Leafs were right up against the salary cap. Enter the Carolina Hurricanes.

NHL Rumors: Toronto Maple Leafs Looking To Add Defensive Help

The Ducks, who will retain 50 percent of Lyubushkin’s salary, received a 2025 third-round pick from the Maple Leafs. Carolina received a 2024 6th-round pick from Toronto for retaining 25 percent of Lyubushkin’s salary. In addition, the Leafs get the rights to Kirill Slepets.

Things were heading in this direction once it was known Ilya Lyubushkin was pulled from the Ducks lineup before their game against the San Jose Sharks. The Anaheim Ducks confirmed this, citing ongoing trade discussions.

As NHLRumors.com has reported, the Maple Leafs had been targeting Lyubushkin. General manager Brad Treliving did not want to give up a first-round pick for Chris Tanev of the Calgary Flames before he was traded to Dallas.

NHL Rumors: Dallas Stars Made A Late Push for Chris Tanev

So, Treliving was going to look elsewhere for a cheaper option. Lyubushkin’s name circled Toronto. He played with the Maple Leafs to close out the 2021-22 season. However, the Maple Leafs were going to need help to acquire him.

The pending unrestricted free agent is in the second season of a two-year, $5.5 million deal with an AAV of $2.75 million. Anaheim acquired Lyubushkin from the Buffalo Sabres for a 2025 fourth-round draft pick in the offseason.

NHL Rumors: New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers, and Toronto Maple Leafs

With Carolina and Anaheim retaining Lyubushkin’s salary, the Maple Leafs can get the player at $687,500, which is $87,500 less than the league minimum salary.

This allows the Maple Leafs to add another player at the deadline to fill a position of need or add depth.

While Ilya Lyubushkin’s numbers are not the greatest, he was playing in Anaheim. However, he was solid in his first stint in Toronto. Toronto is adding a physical, depth defenseman as Mark Giordano will be sidelined with a head injury for a while.

The Arizona Coyotes originally signed Lyubushkin as an undrafted free agent. In 334 games in the NHL with the Coyotes, Maple Leafs, Sabres, and Ducks, he has 43 points (five goals and 38 assists).