Buffalo Sabres: Predicting Ilya Lyubushkin’s 2022-23 Season

Ilya Lyubushkin came over to the Buffalo Sabres during free agency and he will likely become another physical presence on the blue line.

According to Hockey-Reference, Lyubushkin scored two goals and registered 13 assists in 77 games played with the with the Arizona Coyotes and Toronto Maple Leafs in 2021-22. The 28-year-old defenseman could see some solid minutes with the Buffalo Sabres this season so I thought I would try and predict what he will do with Buffalo like I did with Rasmus Dahlin.

Looking at his stats during his career, Lyubushkin has never been a top point guy. However, with the amount of talent the Sabres have on the blue line, this could be a breakout season for Ilya. No matter who he’s on a pairing with, I see him in the top four and possibly having some good numbers.

Lyubushkin may have a strong season with the Buffalo Sabres

I predict Lyubushkin to finish with between five and 10 goals. I know it’s not impressive but as mentioned earlier, Ilya has never scored a lot of goals but that’s okay. If you’re a defenseman, you are not expected to score a lot of goals unless you’re a superstar like Cale Makar. I view Lyubushkin as a depth guy but will see some time in the top four possibly.

Who he will be on a pairing with is to be determined but no matter who he plays with, I can see him getting involved in the scoring department. When it comes to assists, I predict Lyubushkin to finish with 15-20 assists. Buffalo is finally starting to build a good team with a bunch of young and talented players.

After all, Lyubushkin is more known for his physicality. For the longest time, Buffalo lacked physical play. It wasn’t the biggest issue but it was just another issue they have been facing. With Lyubushkin, the team added a physical presence on the blue line.

I know my stats aren’t that impressive for Ilya but I do think he will chip in every now and then when it comes to offensive production. I’m excited to see him help out the Sabres blue line this season.

(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)