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Toronto Maple Leafs Make Major Trade Ahead Of Deadline

The Toronto Maple Leafs are starting the trade deadline party earlier this year. The NHL team announced this week that they had acquired defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin from the Anaheim Ducks as well as Carolina Hurricanes prospect Kirill Slepets in exchange for a 2025 3rd-round pick and a 2024 6th-round pick, the latter being sent to the Hurricanes. The 29-year-old returned to the Maple Leafs after playing for Toronto in 2022 but was left in free agency for the Buffalo Sabres months later.

Ilya Lyubushkin Returns To Toronto With Stanley Cup Aspirations

This is the third time in two years that Lyubushkin has been traded as the Maple Leafs acquire the defensemen and look to make a run for the Stanley Cup. This is expected to be the first of multiple moves made by Toronto as the March 8th trade deadline looms. Here is some analysis of what Lyubushkin will bring to a team looking for its first Stanley Cup win in over fifty years.

Ilya Lyubushkin is a defensive defenseman, which means he won't particularly light up the stat sheet compared to an offensive defenseman like Erik Karlsson, who had over 100 points for the San Jose Sharks last season. The former Duck has only four points in 55 games played this season but has a -13 +/. While that may seem bad, that is drastically better than some of the other Ducks defensemen, and you cannot blame him for playing for the third-worst team in the NHL standing-wise.

Lyubushkin gets to play on one of the league's best teams in Toronto and has a chance at winning his first-ever Stanley Cup. The Leafs also can pair him with Ryan Reeves to have two of the league's most physical players. Lyubushkin has 51 penalty minutes this season and one fight this season, which happened to be against Bobby McMann, a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In terms of contract details, the Maple Leafs only pick up 25 percent of his contract as the Hurricanes retained 25 percent of his salary to be in better standings with the Anaheim Ducks for a potential trade for someone like John Gibson, Frank Vatrano, Adam Henrique, or Radko Gudas. This is why Carolina got a sixth-round pick out of the deal.


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