Most of the attention regarding the Buffalo Sabres 2012 draft class was rightfully aimed at the team's first two picks, centers Mikhail Grigorenko and Zemgus Girgensons. However, this week it's their second round pick making all the headlines.
Defenseman Jake McCabe has been named captain of Team USA for their 2013 World Junior Championship squad, quite an honor for someone who seemed to be on the bubble as the final cuts were being made. Apparently we shouldn't have been so worried.
The 19-year old McCabe is having a solid year for the University of Wisconsin, with 9 points in 16 games. He shares two qualities the Sabres have become fond of drafting recently, especially for defensemen - he's a good skater, and he plays a gritty game in his own end. We can now add that he's also a leader, something you could argue this organization could use more of. Were we to fast forward three or four years into the future, will Sabres fans see McCabe and Girgensons with letters on their sweaters instead of more passive leaders like Pominville, Roy, and Vanek?
The World Juniors will continue through January 5, and many of the games can be seen on NHL Network starting this Wednesday. You can find the US broadcast schedule here. We may not have NHL hockey to watch, but with prospects like Armia, McCabe, and Grigorenko competing, the World Juniors should be able to tide Sabres fans over into the new year.