BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – While the offseason wasn’t too busy for the Sabres, they did add a pair of pieces that can help in the short and long term. One of those was defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin. The former Arizona Coyote and Toronto Maple Leaf signed a two-year contract with the Sabres. It comes with a $2.75 million average annual value.
Lyubushkin played the Sabres last year as part of the Maple Leafs, and he knows how tough they can be.
“When I play Buffalo it’s always tough,” the defenseman said.
But he’s also a tough person to play against. Head coach Don Granato talked about the physicality he can bring to their defense corps.
“He’s more hard nosed, we can use him in penalty kill situations, but he’s probably more physical than the rest of the group and I think he’ll push guys in that group to be more physical and I think our young guys will actually learn to pick up some of his traits,” Granato said.
Granato also spoke on the how the newcomer can sharpen some of the guys like Owen Power and Rasmus Dahlin.
“Any time you put more talent in your lineup and more experience, they’ll learn from each other,” Granato said. “Owen can learn from Dahlin and Dahlin will pick up some things from Owen, so as we move this franchise and keep stability, you’ll see that as part of the synergy. The players learn from each other.”
As Lyubushkin brings some new knowledge to the team, he said they can help him out as well.
“I think they help me, I can help them,” Lyubushkin said. “We both can teach each other.”
Lyubushkin said he looks forward to playing with Rasmus Dahlin, whom he called a “high level player.”
The Sabres also added goaltender Eric Comrie, who will be a big part of the goalie group this upcoming season alongside Craig Anderson.