The Chicago Blackhawks have signed defenseman Jake McCabe to a four-year, $16 million contract. McCabe goes to Chicago after spending his entire eight-year career to this point with the Buffalo Sabres. With the abundance of moves Stan Bowman has made over the past few weeks, McCabe looks to be entering a slightly better situation with the Hawks.
McCabe gives the Blackhawks a strong defensive blueliner to complement the offensive weapons they have on their team. He won’t produce many points, but his ability to get the puck out of danger will bode well for his team in transition and could end up producing a good number of scoring chances. He should see a sizeable role in Chicago and could be in for a rebound season after some unfortunate seasons with the Sabres.
Fit with the Blackhawks
Chicago has completely overhauled its defense corps over the past two weeks, including seeing longtime duo Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook both depart. McCabe looks likely to take on an expanded role with the Blackhawks, as they have traded away Keith and Nikita Zadorov this week and also appear to be shopping Calvin De Haan. That leaves McCabe as the most experienced left-handed defenseman on the team, and will likely line up with one of Seth Jones or Connor Murphy on the Blackhawks’ blue line.
McCabe was on some miserable Sabres teams, reflected in his career minus-28 career rating, but he played well albeit in a small sample this past season. His years of experience on a poor team can translate to success with the Blackhawks, as they are a young team looking for leadership. If paired with Jones, McCabe can provide steady defensive play that can allow the offensive-minded defenseman to do what he does best. Chicago may be intrigued by the prospect of pairing Jones with his brother Caleb, who they also just acquired, but they might be better served pairing Seth with McCabe.
With the Blackhawks recently adding Marc-Andre Fleury by trade, McCabe figures to see better results as a Blackhawk than he has seen recently in Buffalo. He will be relied on for heavy minutes at even strength and figures to see a prominent role shorthanded as well. He won’t be counted on to produce a whopping point total, but his strong play defensively and ability to cover for his partner could make him a strong asset for Chicago as they head in a new direction.
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Covering the New York Islanders and Seattle Kraken for The Hockey Writers. MBA Sports & Entertainment Management Candidate at Hofstra University. Formerly Marketing Intern with the American Flag Football League & Operations Intern for the Long Island Nets, G-League Affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets.