Report: Arizona Coyotes Set To Extend Defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin

Ilya Lyubushkin

Arizona Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong revealed his intention to extend top-four defenceman Ilya Lyubushkin to a one-year, $1.35 million extension.  AZ Coyotes Insider reporter, Craig Morgan broke the story on Sunday afternoon.

Arizona Coyotes Extend Ilya Lyubushkin

Lyubushkin has spent his entire NHL career with the Coyotes organization and will sign his fourth contract to extend his stay in Arizona until the end of the 2021-22 season.

So far in the NHL, Lyubushkin has accrued 10 points, 166 blocked shots and 378 hits across three seasons with the Coyotes. This year, he has predominantly played alongside Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the top pair. He is second on the team in blocks (52) and fourth in hits (77) in 2020-21.

The 6’2″, 201-pound defenceman arrived in North America for the 2018-19 season after playing five seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl. Over his professional career in Russia, he managed 13 goals, 41 points and 286 penalty minutes in 304 games.

How This Affects The Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft

Arizona’s re-signing of Ilya Lyubushkin has interesting ramifications for the upcoming Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft in July.

Before the Kraken can begin selecting players from each NHL franchise, every team must submit a player protection list. Each side can protect either eight skaters and one goaltender or alternatively seven forwards, three defencemen and one goaltender.

Arizona will likely go down the 7-3-1 route, given the youth in their offensive corp, which leaves a question mark over their defensive priorities. Naturally, captain Oliver Ekman Larsson and Jakob Chychrun will be protected. But now the debate will be whether Armstrong uses his final spot for Ilya Lyubushkin or Kyle Capobianco.

Drafted in the third round in 2015, Capobianco (23) is younger than Lyubushkin and has consistently produced in the AHL. According to Elite Prospects, he has 21 goals and 111 points for the Tucson Roadrunners, the Coyotes AHL affiliate. Although, Capobianco has played only 14 NHL games in his career, which, so far, has been hampered by injuries.

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