Maple Leafs acquire Ilya Lyubushkin in three-team trade

The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Anaheim Ducks defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin on Thursday night in a three-way trade that also involved the Carolina Hurricanes.

Anaheim received Toronto's 2025 third-round pick and retained 50% of Lyubushkin's salary. Carolina received a 2024 sixth-round pick to retain 50% of Lyubushkin's remaining salary. Hence, the Maple Leafs will have only $687,500 count against their salary cap for the veteran defenseman, leaving them with flexibility ahead of the March 8 NHL trade deadline.

To facilitate the three-way trade, the Hurricanes also sent unsigned KHL forward Kirill Slepets to the Maple Leafs. Carolina selected Slepets in the fifth round (No. 152 overall) in the 2019 NHL draft.

Lyubushkin, 29, was held out of the Ducks' game against the San Jose Sharks in anticipation of the trade. The defensive defenseman has four points in 55 games this season, averaging 17:09 in ice time.

He previously played for the Leafs in 2021-22, after former general manager Kyle Dubas acquired him in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes. Lyubushkin played 31 regular-season games for Toronto and seven more in the postseason.

For his career, Lyubushkin has 43 points in 334 games. The right-side defenseman is known for his physicality and can kill penalties as well.

Lyubushkin was one of the more prominent options still available among defensive defensemen, ranking No. 29 on ESPN's trade deadline board. On Wednesday, the Dallas Stars traded for Calgary Flames defenseman Chris Tanev, who was arguably the best one available and a player that Leafs had checked in on as well.