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Maple Leafs’ Jake McCabe: What Does He Add to the Team?

One of the Toronto Maple Leafs newcomers is defenseman Jake McCabe. What does he bring to the team? What will his contributions be?

As Toronto Maple Leafs’ fans know, Jake McCabe was traded to the Maple Leafs from the Chicago Blackhawks, along with Sam Lafferty and two fifth-round picks. Going the other way were Joey Anderson, Pavel Gogolev, a 2025 first-round selection, and a 2026 second-round pick.

In this post, I want to look at what McCabe will bring to the team as they head down the stretch toward the postseason.


Who Is Jake McCabe?

McCabe is a 29-year-old left-shooting defenseman. He stands 6-feet-1 and weighs 204 pounds. After attending the University of Wisconsin, he was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round (44th overall) in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

This is his 11th NHL season. During his NHL career, he’s played for the Sabres, the Blackhawks, and now the Maple Leafs. McCabe is known for his strong physical and defensive play. His forte is playing strong defense, blocking shots, contributing on the penalty kill, and delivering hits. Overall, his size, skill, and versatility make him a valuable addition to any team.

What Does He Bring to the Maple Leafs?

Before McCabe was traded to Toronto, he had been having a strong season with Chicago. He’d scored 20 points in 55 games, and he was on track to surpass his point total from the previous season. As soon as McCabe was put inside the Maple Leafs’ lineup, he had an impact.

Because the Maple Leafs’ defense got crowded, Maple Leafs’ general manager Kyle Dubas was able to move Rasmus Sandin to the Washington Capitals. Overall, McCabe’s trade to Toronto is expected to add depth and experience to the team’s blue line, and his strong play this season makes him a valuable asset.

Related: Maple Leafs News & Rumors: Sandin, Timmins, Lafferty & McCabe

McCabe Is a Defensive Defenseman

McCabe gives the Maple Leafs a more solid defensive presence. He’ll be expected to play significant minutes in a defense-oriented role. Although he might not be known for his offensive contributions, he can occasionally contribute secondary scoring.

However, McCabe’s strengths lie in his ability to block shots, play on the penalty kill, and deliver hits. Overall, his presence provides the team with a more reliable and rugged defensive presence.

McCabe Isn’t Afraid to Be Physical, But He Can

Despite his size, McCabe isn’t afraid to play a physical game and use his body to deliver hits. This aspect of his play can bring value to the team. His move to Toronto will likely reshape his role and his responsibilities. With the Maple Leafs, he’ll be expected to contribute more with his defense than with his offense.

That said, McCabe still possesses the ability to make plays and carry the puck up the ice when needed. Overall, his versatility and physical play make him a valuable addition to this team.

Even If McCabe Does’t Light Up the Scoresheet, He’ll Be Valuable

McCabe is the type of player who’ll provide value to the Maple Leafs even if he’s not a scorer. He’s known for his ability to make hits and blocks, which will help solidify the team’s defense. So far, he’s been one of the Maple Leafs’ top defensive pairings.

However, even if he ends up In a depth role, McCabe can still contribute and provide strong coverage on the back end of the ice. Overall, McCabe’s contributions to this Maple Leafs’ team might not show up on the scoresheet. However, his physical and defensive play can help to make the team more well-rounded and successful.

In short, he seems to be a Jake Muzzin lite. He has many of those same characteristics.

So Far, What Has McCabe Done with His New Team?

In his four games with the Maple Leafs thus far, McCabe has averaged 19 minutes and 12 seconds of ice time per game. He has taken six shots, landed seven hits, and made five blocks. And, he’s demonstrated his physical and defensive play.

McCabe has also not been on the ice for any 5v5 goals. And, his minutes are far from sheltered. He’s facing top competition. He’s shown his defensive prowess. In last Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks, he accumulated 19 penalty minutes, 17 of which came from one play. He got into one fight, sticking up for captain John Tavares.

In the recent game against the New Jersey Devils, McCabe was on the ice for over a minute at the end of the game, helping to secure the win for his team. That’s only four games, but it shows how he can be counted on to play strong defensive play and to use his physicality to make valuable additions to the team.

Related: Kyper & Bourne Say Bench Maple Leafs Morgan Rielly: Ignorant



  1. gfinale

    March 9, 2023 at 11:56 pm

    McCabe is rightfully the main focus here but just to note, Gogolev was put on waivers today to release him from contract. It appears the Hawks sidn’t want to pay him 834,000 to play minor hockey. Apparently, he will be going to the Growlers. In essence, the Leafs then end up never having traded Gogolev but freed a 50 spot and will pay way less for him.

    • gfinale

      March 10, 2023 at 12:21 am

      Actually, he has a two qay contract so they won’t pay much less ut still, it ends up like they never traded him.

  2. gfinale

    March 10, 2023 at 12:24 am

    Finally, after at least 10 years, the Leafs have a real top 4! 20 points in 55 for a stay at home is pretty good! Same with being picked 44th.

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