Buffalo Sabres Sign Ilya Lyubushkin, Eric Comrie, & Malcolm Subban

The Buffalo Sabres agreed to terms with a trio of players on Wednesday as NHL Free Agency opened, inking defenseman Ilya Lyubushkin and a pair of goaltenders in Eric Comrie and Malcolm Subban.

Comrie Gets a Raise; Showed Well in Winnipeg But Was Underused

Eric Comrie comes from the Winnipeg Jets after performing admirably — but being drastically underused as — Connor Hellebuyck’s backup. Despite playing quite well when called upon, the 27-year-old never gained the organization’s trust, as they overplayed Hellebuyck to their own detriment throughout 2021-22 and let Comrie sit for long periods of time.

Related: Jets Paying the Price for Mishandling Hellebuyck’s Workload

In 16 starts last season, Comrie accumulated a 10-5- 1 record, a GAA of 2.58 and SV% of .920, more than answering the bell and silencing questions that surrounded him coming into the season about his capability as an NHL goaltender.

Comrie, who was only making $750,000 with the Jets — the main reason they gave him the backup role was because he was affordable — will more than double his salary in Buffalo on a two-year deal with an AAV of $1.8 million.

Originally drafted by the Jets 59th overall in 2013, Comrie has a 13-10-1 record in 28 appearances and 24 starts between the Jets, Detroit Red Wings, and New Jersey Devils, posting a .905 SV%, 3.06 GAA, and one shutout.

Subban Returns on a Two-Way Deal

Comrie wasn’t the only goaltender the Sabres came to terms with, as they brought back Malcolm Subban on a one-year, two way deal worth $850,000.

The Sabres originally acquired Subban via a trade with the Chicago Blackhawks in December 2021. The 28-year-old native just four games for the team, going 0-2-1 with a 4.85 GAA and .871 SV% before sustaining a season-ending upper-body injury and having surgery.

Malcolm Subban Buffalo Sabres
Malcolm Subban, Buffalo Sabres (Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Originally drafted 24th overall by the Boston Bruins in 2012, Subban has a 36-33-9 record, 3.10 GAA and .898 SV% between the Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights, Blackhawks, and Sabres.

The Sabres’ crease resembled more of a revolving door than a blue semi-circle last season as six different net minders saw time for the team that finished 5th in the Atlantic Division and missed the playoffs for the 11th-straight season.

Lyubushkin Heads Over the Border

Finally, the Sabres added a defenseman from a geographical rival, signing Ilya Lyubushkin Eric on a two-year deal with an AAV of $2.75 million.

Related: Buffalo Sabres’ Decade of Disappointment

Lyubushkin split 2021-22 between the Arizona Coyotes and Maple Leafs, recording two goals and 13 assists in 77 games and a minus-two rating between the teams. The Maple Leafs acquired him in February along with Ryan Dzingel in exchange for Nick Ritchie and Arizona’s choice of a third-round pick in 2023 or a second-round pick in 2025.

Ilya Lyubushkin Arizona Coyotes
Ilya Lyubushkin, Arizona Coyotes (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

A Russian product who stands 6-foot-2 and weighs in at 200 pounds, Lyubushkin began his NHL career with the Coyotes in 2018-19 after playing in the KHL. He has since appeared in in 211-career NHL games, recording three goals and 22 assists.

The Sabres still have $20 million of cap space to work with, according to CapFriendly.

Check out THW’s 2022 Free Agent Signing Tracker for up-to-date news on all player signings during NHL Free Agency.