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2015-16 Buffalo Sabres Grades: Jake McCabe

The Buffalo Sabres 2015-16 season featured plenty of new faces that helped the team finally dig their way out of the league basement. We're grading everybody who played at least 20 games for the Sabres this year, from Bogosian to Ullmark.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 22

Contract: Restricted Free Agent

Introduction: It's easy to forget that at the start of the season most people expected McCabe to spend the season in Rochester, possibly getting a bit of a look with the Sabres. In the end, he ended up playing nearly the entire season, tied for second in games played among Buffalo defenseman. He found his way to the team due to injury, and stayed due to strong play.

McCabe showed he has all the skill to be a good second pairing defenseman in this league, living up to the hype he built with strong play at Wisconsin and in the World Juniors.

Key Stat: McCabe logged the third most minutes of any Sabre this year, behind only Rasmus Ristolainen and Josh Gorges.

Thumbs Up: McCabe was able to stick with the Sabres full-time this year and doesn't appear to be heading back down again. He's physical, has a slight scoring touch and is a strong puck mover. He and Mark Pysyk could be a very good No. 2 pairing for a successful team in a few years. His performance at Worlds is also a good sign, as he played on the top pairing and was named one of the team's top three players by the coaching staff.

Thumbs Down: He certainly isn't perfect, making his fair share of mistakes that you'd expect from a 22-year-old playing his first full NHL season. That's fine for now, but if he's still making mental mistakes in two or three years it is something to worry about.

Memorable Moment: McCabe was one of many players on this team willing to stand up for his teammates, which he showed after an ugly hit on Daniel Catenacci from Radko Gudas.

Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Jake McCabe on his performance this year.