Monday, May 9, 2016

Impressions of, and questions concerning--D, Jake McCabe

Reprinted with permission from

Defenseman--Jake McCabe
DOB:  October 12, 1993 (age, 22)
Draft:  2012, 2nd round (44th overall)
How acquired:  Drafted by Buffalo
Last contract signed:  2013--3yr. ELC;  $925k/yr.
Final year of contract:  2015-16, RFA

2015-16 Stats:  77 games, 4 goals, 10 assists, 14 points, +6

What we wrote preseason:  "Even though soon to be 22 yr. old Jake McCabe has made plenty of mistakes befitting his youthful status, he's done enough things right and has progressed methodically enough to the point where a good taste of the big club until [Zach] Bogosian gets back would enhance his development.

McCabe makes mistakes like any young defender but has shown the propensity to bounce back from them rather quickly. He's a smart player with enough beef to rattle some bones and enough skill to produce. Time is his friend right now and one more year of seasoning in Rochester should make him a lock for next seasons roster. Until then it will be a matter of honing his skills and adapting to an even faster pace this season.

What we wrote mid-season:  "One of McCabe's most impressive traits is his recuperative powers. He'll have a rough period only to come back immediately with an outstanding one and he'll do that with shifts as well. It's probably the most important thing a young defenseman can do--forget about his mistakes. McCabe continues to impress with his skating, smarts and hitting. He's good with the stick on defense, has a scoring touch as well, finds the open ice and has a good grasp of when to pinch. And he's only 22 yrs. old with a mere 40 NHL games played thus far in his young career.
Impressions on his play this year:  Implying that McCabe had just "enough" of this and or that proved to be an understatement as he had the goods to lock down a second-pairing role on the Sabres in his first full season in the NHL. Yes, he did make his mistakes and even went through a slump mid-way through the season but he was one of Buffalo's most consistent defensemen all season.

At 6-feet, 214 lbs. the stout McCabe was not only able to handle the physicality of oncoming NHL players, he regularly initiated contact, most notably in his propensity to aggressively stand up forwards on the rush at the Sabres blueline. McCabe's defensive prowess shined through as he lead the team with a plus-6 rating and was a mainstay on the second penalty kill unit. He's smart enough to capably man the point in the offensive zone and has enough savvy to sneak into open ice on the weak-side for scoring opportunities. Four goals and 10 assists seems as if it will be his career floor as he has much more to offer the offense.

Questions moving forward:  How much more offense can he add? As smart as he is on the point, and with a shot that gets through, will he have an opportunity to get some powerplay time? Are we scratching the surface of the amount of playing time he can handle? Is a top-pairing role aside Rasmus Ristolainen in his future? Or will he settle into being an extremely capable No. 3/4?

Happy Mothers Day!

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