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Analyzing the Maple Leafs’ Trade for Jake McCabe & Sam Lafferty

Yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs made a trade that brought Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty to the team. Is that enough to help them win?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have made another significant move leading up to the NHL trade deadline. Yesterday, the team acquired veteran defenseman Jake McCabe and forward Sam Lafferty from the Chicago Blackhawks. In return, the Maple Leafs sent minor-leaguers Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev, as well as conditional draft picks, to Chicago.

Despite using most of their salary cap space, according to reports the Maple Leafs still have over $2.77 million remaining. Does this mean there could potentially be another trade on the way? It’s hard to know if the Maple Leafs are finished dealing before the March 3 trade deadline.


Who Is Jake McCabe?

Jake McCabe is a 29-year-old left-shooting defenseman born in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He was originally drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round (44th overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

This season, McCabe has totaled 20 points in 55 games with the Chicago Blackhawks. Interestingly, McCabe is on track to set a new personal best. Now the question is how his addition to the Maple Leafs’ roster might impact those players currently with the team.

Specifically, will McCabe’s presence lead to a crowded blue line? Whose playing time might be impacted the most? Some suggest it might be Rasmus Sandin.

Who Is Sam Lafferty?

Sam Lafferty is a 27-year-old center who shoots right-handed and was born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He was drafted in the fourth round (113th overall) by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Lafferty’s trade was not surprising. He was a healthy scratch in his previous game so as to prevent any potential injury before the trade deadline. Although he was playing for a Blackhawks team that struggled to put up points, Lafferty managed to score 10 goals and add 11 assists (for 21 points) in 51 games this season.

While he’s unlikely to compete for a top-six role on his new team, Lafferty is expected to give the Maple Leafs’ bottom-six depth a boost.

Kypresos and Bourne Break Down the Trade

In a Sportsnet video below, hockey pundits Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne break down the trade with the Blackhawks that brought the Maple Leafs their two recent additions.

What Kypreos and Bourne Have to Say About the Trade

In the video above, Nick Kypreos and Justin Bourne discuss the recent additions to the Maple Leafs’ roster after the trade with the Blackhawks. Kypreos and Bourne highlight McCabe’s ability to bring “size and snarl” to the team’s defense. Both agree this aspect could be valuable in physical play around the net.

They also praise Lafferty as a “legit bottom-six energy guy.” They suggest that he can boost the team’s depth and energy in the forward lines. Kypreos and Bourne see these additions as positive for the Maple Leafs, potentially strengthening the team’s physicality and depth as they compete in the playoffs.

In Speaking About McCabe?

Both acknowledge that the trade has improved the Maple Leafs’ depth. They also believe that McCabe’s presence is valuable. More amazingly, they note that McCabe is not a rental player. He’s signed for next year at a reasonable salary.

In speculating about McCabe’s potential impact on the team, Kypreos and Bourne wonder if he can play as well as Jake Muzzin. In fact, Kypreos note that he might be a “poor man’s Jake Muzzin.” {And, that’s a good thing, given Muzzin’s impact.}

Jake Muzzin Maple Leafs done for season
Jake Muzzin Maple Leafs done for season

They note that McCabe has size and toughness. Furthermore, as evidenced by his past hits total, he could be useful in protecting the team’s net.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 5-1 Win Over Kraken

In Speaking About Lafferty?

Both also acknowledge that adding Lafferty to the Maple Leafs’ lineup will provide some much-needed depth and energy in their bottom six. With his speed and penalty-killing abilities, there’s some potential for him to make an impact on the team.

They note that competition for bottom-six spots will be heating up. Players like Zach Aston-Reese will be vying for positions and trying to keep their jobs. The conversation focused on how interesting it will be to see who ends up filling out the bottom of the lineup.

The addition of Lafferty might just play upset the bottom-six fruit basket. Someone will be falling to the 13th spot. Just who, right now, we don’t know.

Finally, both Kypreos and Bourne believe the Maple Leafs are making positive moves to improve the team and add much-needed depth and grit to their lineup.

The Final Analysis?

It remains to be seen how these players will perform for the Maple Leafs. Until the season is completed, it’s unclear whether the Maple Leafs will be strong enough to compete with other elite teams like the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins.

However, both Kypreos and Bourne seem optimistic that the trade holds potential benefits for the team. Now we’ll see in the playing.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Samsonov, Gio, Marner & Knies



  1. Pingback: Analyzing the Maple Leafs’ Trade for Jake McCabe & Sam Lafferty Its Playoff Hockey Fantasy Hockey News - Its Playoff Hockey

  2. Jon Harding

    February 28, 2023 at 6:34 am

    You’ve seemingly taken a very measured view on this OP. I certainly see lots of hype today but believe some of it is for good reason. The Leafs may not, in fact, get past Tampa but they are a better team today and for the next two or three years than they were two weeks ago. In a way, Dubas has shifted more of the pressure on to the shoulders of Matthews, Marner, Nylander and Tavares, and to a lesser degree Morgan Reilly. He believes in them, has backed them up in the media and now with considerable resources, and he’s certainly paid them. Will they soar or will they crumble? We’ll now see.

  3. Old Prof

    February 28, 2023 at 8:16 am

    Thanks Jon – the truth is I don’t know if the team is better over the long run – I don’t get too worried about draft picks – maybe I should.

  4. Pingback: 3 Thoughts Maple Leafs' McCabe & Lafferty Trade: Kerfoot Gone?

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