With lower than 5 weeks till the NHL’s commerce deadline on March 3, let’s concentrate on Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe.

2023 Trade Deadline Countdown: 32 days

Jake McCabe
Left Defense, Chicago Blackhawks
Shoots: Left
Age: 29
Height: 6-foot-1 | Weight: 204 lbs.
Cap Hit: $4 million
Term: Two seasons remaining
Clauses: Seven-team ‘no-trade’ checklist
Stats: 45 GP, two targets, 12 assists, 14 factors, 19:20 avg TOI
Career: tenth season (Buffalo, Chicago) 473 GP, 24 targets, 113 factors, 19:26 avg TOI

Archetype and Ideal Role

Defensive Defenseman, third pair / first unit penalty kill

McCabe is a gradual, dependable and predictable defender when wholesome, which he has been for the majority of his tenure in Chicago. Ideally, on a championship-caliber roster, he’ll slot into the third pair and be a big contributor to the penalty kill.

Scouting Report

McCabe is like a simple bake oven for a training workers, you may set it and overlook it – the traditional regular defenseman. No muss, no fuss. He is never in hassle, however he additionally isn’t going to ‘wow’ you in anybody space of the sport. His competitors and hockey sense are above common and there’s no doubt he’s keen to put it on the road for his staff. McCabe’s mobility is barely beneath common, however he makes up for it along with his defensive instincts and willingness to battle. He hardly ever hesitates in his personal zone, finishes his checks, and makes life more durable for the opposition.

His puck play is easy. One of his finest attributes is his sense of self. He is aware of who he’s and limits errors by not attempting to do an excessive amount of. McCabe’s underlying numbers are strong for by no means having performed on staff on the NHL degree. Because of that, if the buying staff can abdomen his damage threat, they could unlock a strong contributor for the following couple of seasons.

Additionally, the Blackhawks seem like keen to retain as much as half of McCabe’s contract, which might knock him down to simply $2 million per season – taking his value certainty to the following degree.

Buyer Beware

Mobility is the one space of weak spot in McCabe’s sport. It leaves lots to be desired. His first three strides are beneath common, which limits his skill to persistently shut on attackers and cease them of their tracks – significantly the extra inventive gamers. He makes up for lots of that along with his hockey IQ, anticipating lanes and attacking harmful areas previous to performs growing. His penalty differential is generally even all through his profession, which implies he can and does get to the place he must go most of the time.

Although his puck play is easy and he does a pleasant job limiting errors, he’ll cough up pucks below strain as a result of he can not escape utilizing his ft.

The greatest knock on McCabe has been one thing principally out of his management – his damage historical past. He has missed 118 video games in his NHL profession however seems to have put a few of that to relaxation in Chicago, with 75 video games performed final season and one other 45 this yr. However, the buying staff is not only taking him on for the stretch run, however two extra years past that. They’d need to be snug believing McCabe goes to proceed to play significant minutes past his thirtieth birthday.

Finally, McCabe has by no means appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff sport. He left the rebuilding Sabres to signal with the Blackhawks as a part of their retooling, however that shortly become a tear-it-down rebuild. That makes it extremely tough to foretell or mission how McCabe will fare within the highlight of the postseason.

Potential Fits

  • Toronto Maple Leafs: The Leafs might want to substitute Jake Muzzin and what he dropped at the lineup. While McCabe gained’t be a duplicate on the offensive finish, he’d actually assist fill the defensive void, and slide proper in subsequent to a man like T.J. Brodie who can transfer the puck. We additionally know the Maple Leafs worth time period over leases and if Chicago retains, McCabe at $2 million is a house run. Six of the seven Canadian groups are on McCabe’s seven-team ‘no-trade’ checklist and the Maple Leafs should not one in all them.
  • Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers are in determined want of assist that retains the puck away from their finish of the ice. McCabe looks as if an ideal slot in Edmonton, turning into a defensive anchor on a staff missing simply that. They’d need to persuade him to waive his ‘no-trade’ to return to Oil Country.
  • Los Angeles Kings: The Kings have expressed curiosity in McCabe. They presently have a surplus on protection and Jordan Spence ready within the wings in AHL Ontario. One of these eight defensemen would in all probability want to move elsewhere first, corresponding to Sean Walker or Matt Roy. What McCabe brings over these guys is extra predictability and slightly extra chunk.

Comparable Trade Returns

July 23, 2021
To Philadelphia: Rasmus Ristolainen
To Buffalo: Robert Hagg, 2021 first-round Pick (Isak Rosen), 2023 second-round Pick

Feb. 24, 2020
To Carolina: Brady Skjei
To NY Rangers: 2020 1st Round Pick (Hendrix Lapierre)

The checklist of defensemen traded lately with time period on their contract is small. Neither one in all these examples is a real direct comparability. Ristolainen was a much bigger identify then and he had one yr remaining on his deal, not two like McCabe. And then Skjei had a whopping 4 years remaining when New York determined to dump his contract as a part of their rebuild.

Erik Gudbranson was traded to Pittsburgh in 2019 with two years remaining on his deal at $4 million, however he was swapped for Tanner Pearson, and Chicago doubtless doesn’t have curiosity in a player-for-player deal.

Even amongst forwards, the one two current comps with time period in that greenback vary are Tyler Toffoli to the Flames (for a primary, a fifth, Emil Heineman and Tyler Pitlick) and Vincent Trocheck to Carolina (for Erik Haula, Lucas Wallmark, Chase Priskie and Eetu Luostarinen). But they aren’t nice comps as a result of time period and {dollars} for forwards are vastly totally different than protection.


In McCabe, a contending staff in ‘win-now’ mode will get a participant that may actually assist given his hockey intelligence and competitors. His damage historical past looms giant. But the Chicago Blackhawks can be promoting excessive on a participant who has rounded into pre-injury kind. If the Blackhawks are retaining half on McCabe, his return completely begins with a first-round decide in a deal, not all that dissimilar to the comps above.

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