BUFFALO, NY (WIVB) — The Sabers made an attempt to clear their blue-line backlog Friday night by trading defenseman Ilya Lybushkin to Anaheim in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2025 draft.
Lyubushkin, 29, played 68 games last season after signing a two-year, $2.75 million-a-year contract with the Sabers in July 2022. He scored two goals and 14 points while struggling with injuries for most of his season in Buffalo.
To score in overtime away from Tampa Bay with a man down was that To mark of Lybushkin’s tenure with the Sabers. He led the Sabers’ defenders in hits and blocks per 60 minutes of play and frequently played as a penalty killer.
The Sabers had to trade at least one defenseman after signing Connor Clifton and Erik Johnson as free agents. That left Buffalo with nine players in the position who had signed one-way contracts in the NHL. There’s only room for seven or eight D-Men in the opening night roster.
Buffalo now has nine picks in the 2025 draft, with additional picks in the fourth and seventh rounds. The fourth-rounder, who hails from Anaheim, originally belonged to Minnesota.
“We’re excited to add Ilya to our blueline as we’ve targeted another defender for the right flank this season,” Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement. “He’s a big, physical and tenacious player who can take penalties and makes it harder to play against us.”
Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Born in western New York, he has covered the Bills, Sabers, Bandits, Bison, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in the area for publications such as The Associated Press, The Buffalo News and Niagara Gazette since 2005. Read more about his work here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.