NHL Trade: Toronto Maple Leafs Acquire Ilya Lyubushkin

Originally published by NHLRumors.com

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.

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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.

Trade Review:#LeafsForever
Lyubushkin @ $687.5K
’24 6th
’25 3rd#FlyTogether
’25 3rd
Lyubushkin & retain $1.375M#CauseChaos
’24 6th
Retain $687.5K Cap Hit https://t.co/Kr0UC35o7L

— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) March 1, 2024

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.

Ilya Lyubushkin pulled from Ducks lineup tonight as Anaheim involved in trade talks. Hearing the Maple Leafs one of teams in those talks with Ducks.

— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) March 1, 2024

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.

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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.

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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.

Lyubushkin makes $2.75M against the cap. With double retention, his cap hit would be less than a league minimum salary and give the Leafs more flexibility to continue to add by the deadline. https://t.co/6RqWRU29pK

— James Mirtle (@mirtle) March 1, 2024

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

At 75 percent retained, Lyubushkin’s cap hit to Toronto would be $687,500, which is $87,500 less than the NHL minimum salary.

— David Alter (@dalter) March 1, 2024

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.

Ilya Lyubushkin, acquired by TOR, is a physical depth defenceman. Has put up good D results earlier in his career and is actually not a bad puck mover, but one of the most victimized blueliners off the rush in the past three seasons and takes too many penalties. #LeafsForever pic.twitter.com/JMRrT4MdOf

— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) March 1, 2024

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).