Weight: 195 lbs.
2014-15 team: Rochester/Buffalo
Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round (44th overall) in the 2012 draft
Last year's ranking: 11
Jake McCabe was great at Wisconsin. He was great in the World Juniors, and now he's pretty successful at the AHL level too. The next step is obviously the NHL, and he seems poised to make the jump this season.
McCabe spent most of the season with the Americans this season, his first entirely at the professional level. The year prior he finished the year with the Sabres after the conclusion of the NCAA season. He came with a lot of hype after serving as the US captain in the World Juniors and scoring the Gold Medal winning goal.
In 57 games McCabe had five goals and 24 assists, trailing only Chad Ruhwedel in defensive scoring. He had a very short stint in Buffalo this season, playing in only two games. The strategy was clearly to take it slow with him, since there was no rush to get talented players on the roster.
McCabe is a bright player on the ice with a bit of a physical side, but it's up in the air how effective he'll be offensively at the NHL level. He's a solid defenseman who will give the Sabres added depth going forward. Whether he'll be a second or third pair guy isn't really known, but if you have a guy like McCabe on the bottom pair you know you're doing alright.
The Sabres organization has said that McCabe wasn't ready for full-time NHL duty just yet, but the clock is ticking. This is McCabe's third professional season, and he's looked solid when he's played with the big club. The Sabres' blueline is a bit muddled at the bottom, so if McCabe can't earn a job soon, you have to wonder what the Sabres aren't happy with.