Last night, the Buffalo Sabres traded Ilya Lyubushkin to the Anaheim Ducks, receiving a fourth round pick in 2025 in the process.
Since Erik Johnson and Connor Clifton signed with the Buffalo Sabres, the Blue and Gold looked as though they would be heading into the season with a surplus of blueliners. They had nine on one-way contracts and now that Ilya Lyubushkin has been traded to the Anaheim Ducks, that number has been cut down to eight:
- Rasmus Dahlin
- Mattias Samuelsson
- Owen Power
- Connor Clifton
- Erik Johnson
- Henri Jokiharju
- Riley Stillman
- Jacob Bryson
Today, I was going to pen a piece on why the Sabres should (and shouldn’t) keep Lyubushkin, but that’s no longer necessary for obvious reasons. Instead, I’m going to tell you what this implies, and it’s something every fan in the Queen City should appreciate.
Buffalo Sabres general manager will always value draft picks…
If you would have told me Ilya Lyubushkin was worth a fourth round pick, a mid-rounder really, I’d have shaken my head and would have guessed a sixth, or at best, a fifth. Throughout his career, the 29-year-old Lyubushkin has been a third pairing guy, and this past season, the hard-hitting defenseman struggled to stay healthy.
That said, I was pleasantly surprised to see Adams get a fourth round pick for Lyubushkin. But then again, this is a guy who also somehow got a third rounder for Erik Portillo back in March, so maybe it shouldn’t have been entirely surprising.
Overall, it shows us that Adams is still willing, even with the Buffalo Sabres climbing those rungs in the NHL hierarchy, to part with players in exchange for better draft picks than we may otherwise guess that a certain player is worth. To keep building that prospect pool, and it’s something we should continue to expect in the future.
Now, the question remains: Will we see Henri Jokiharju, Riley Stillman, or Jacob Bryson on the move? Or, will the Buffalo Sabres roll with eight defensemen and 13 forwards, as I postulated in previous pieces.