If the Leafs are looking at re-signing Ilya Lyubushkin, here's what his next deal could look like

Published April 15, 2022 at 9:14 PM
BY BRADLEY CELSIE
Back on February 19th, the Toronto Maple Leafs sent forward Nick Ritchie and a conditional second (or a third) round draft pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for forwards Ryan Dzingel and defensemen Ilya Lyubushkin.

At the time, many Leaf fans celebrated the trade as it dumped the salary of Nick Ritchie both this year and next. But while this likely served as the purpose of the trade, Leafs GM Kyle Dubas had a second reason for making this deal. That reason, he had been keeping an eye on Lyubushkin.

Lyubushkin has brought an element to the Buds' defense corps that just wasn't there this season. Physicality.




Lyubushkin leads the team in hits by a landslide with 74 hits in the 23 games he has played since the Leafs acquired him. Wayne Simmonds is second on that list with 52, and perhaps surprisingly, Mitch Marner is third with 48. Lyubushkin's 74 hits is good for 17th in the league since he had been acquired.

But what would it take to re-sign him? Last off season, we saw the Dallas Stars sign Jani Hakanpaa for three years with an AAV of $1.5 million. Like Lyubushkin, Hakanpaa doesn't score much, but is a right handed, stay at home, hard-hitting defenseman. It is likely Lyubushkin will sign at a similar number. This is something the Leafs could work into there cap if they want to. Especially if they decide to move Justin Holl, who has one year left on his deal at $2 million. Holl has fallen out of favour in the Toronto market and Lyubushkin has already passed him on the teams depth chart.

Lyubushkin has endeared himself to not only the Leafs' fan base, but also his teammates as well. He's one pending UFA that I think everyone would be interested in keeping around.
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