Ilya Lyubushkin was acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs from the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday in a three-team trade also involving the Carolina Hurricanes.

Anaheim received Toronto’s third-round pick in the 2025 NHL Draft, Carolina received Toronto’s sixth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, and Toronto received Carolina forward prospect Kirill Slepets.

It will be the second stint in Toronto for Lyubushkin, a 29-year-old defenseman who played 31 games for Maple Leafs in the 2021-22 season.

"Our defense is an area especially on the right side that we needed to add to," Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving said Friday. "Whether it be through injury or whatnot, we're short on the right side so you look throughout the marketplace and No. 1 is determining what is available."

Lyubushkin is the final season of a two-year contract with an average annual value of $2.75 million he signed with the Buffalo Sabres on July 13, 2022, and can become an unrestricted free agent after this season.

Anaheim will retain 50 percent of his salary, and Carolina will retain 50 percent of his remaining salary.

The NHL Tonight crew on the Lyubushkin trade

Lyubushkin had four assists for the Ducks in 55 games this season. He has 43 points (five goals, 38 assists) in 334 NHL games for the Arizona Coyotes, Maple Leafs, Sabres and Ducks, and one assist in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games.

After going undrafted, he played four seasons for the Coyotes before being traded to the Maple Leafs on Feb. 19, 2022.

Toronto is currently without defenseman Mark Giordano, who is going to be out "some time" after he sustained a concussion in a 4-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday, according to Treliving.

The Maple Leafs are allowing an average of 3.15 goals per game, 13th-most in the NHL.

"There's a familiarity of where [Lyubushkin] fit in his last time here as a teammate," Treliving said. "... One of the things we need to improve upon is stopping plays, killing plays. He's got the ability to kill plays. He's got some heaviness to him (6-foot-2, 200 pounds). It adds to our depth, it gives us a body in a position of need, and allows us still to seek other opportunities over the course of the next week (prior to the NHL Trade Deadline on March 8 at 3 p.m. ET)."

Slepets, a 24-year-old who was selected by the Hurricanes in the fifth round (No. 152) of the 2019 NHL Draft, has 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 46 games this season for Amur Khabarovsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. He is unsigned.

Related Content