Ilya Lyubushkin is a tough guy, and that’s exactly why the Buffalo Sabres decided to sign him this off-season. Lyubushkin came to the NHL from playing in the KHL in 2018 when he joined the Arizona Coyotes. Lyubushkin was a well-liked player in Arizona but never got the full trust, and during last season, he got traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Leafs had been looking for a guy that could bring some physicality to the team, and they got it with Lyubushkin.
The Maple Leafs had hopes of resigning him during this offseason, but instead, he got a hefty contract from Buffalo, and so far, everything points to it being a great decision to join the Sabres.
Ilya Lyubushkin has been a starter for all three games of the season so far, and he also got an assist during the season opener against Ottawa. And although he only played for nearly nine minutes in last night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers, he drew some attention.
Edmonton Oilers rookie Dylan Holloway was just receiving a pass off the boards when he got a lesson to keep his head up. As he was about the take the puck, he barely had time to look up before he got absolutely destroyed by Ilya Lyubushkin.
The hit from the Sabres defenseman was clean and, without a doubt, the hardest this season. Holloway had to leave the game, and we understand why. What an incredible hit by Lyubushkin.
Lyubushkin, later in the game, blocked a shot and didn’t return to play in the second period. In the third, he only played for one shift.