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Player Report Card: Jake McCabe

Defenseman’s struggles continued this season

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Season Stats: 53 GP | 3 G | 9 A | 12 PTS

Age: 24

Contract Status: Signed through 2018-19, $1.6m AAV

Fanciful Sabres fans had hoped that Jake McCabe would develop into a top pair defenseman next to Rasmus Ristolainen when he was drafted 44th overall back in 2012. Those expectations have been tempered especially during the last couple of seasons as he has fallen down the pecking order of dmen on an otherwise awful Sabres defensive corps.

With the Sabres season down the tubes already, GM Jason Botterill shut him down in February to allow him to have surgery to fix a nagging shoulder issue. He was already on injured reserve before that after surgery on his thumb. McCabe is expected to be fully fit by the time preseason training starts this summer.

McCabe played about 19:30 a night, which is nearly his career average with Buffalo as well. He spent a lot of time with Victor Antipin on the third pairing this season, and maybe another season with Phil Housley gives him a chance to improve his overall output.

The knock on McCabe has always been the gaffes and errors, especially in his own zone. While he shows determination and grit, sometimes all it take is that one mistake to lose the game and the pressure will be on him this coming season with it being a contract year. He’s proving to be a borderline 2nd/3rd pair dman, and it’ll be interesting to see what the likely addition of Rasmus Dahlin will do for him next season.

Season Grade: C+

His season highlight was likely this seeing-eye goal he wired in over Semyon Varlamov in this December game against the Avalanche.


What grade would you give Jake McCabe this season?

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