Defensive defensemen with a top-four pedigree are always a hot commodity around the trade deadline. That hasn’t changed this year, as names like Columbus’ Vladislav Gavrikov expect to generate significant returns as March 3 approaches.
Another name in that conversation is Chicago Blackhawks defender Jake McCabe. Last month, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that McCabe was drawing interest from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Today, Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic added to McCabe’s interest, noting that “multiple contenders” are interested and Chicago’s asking price revolves around a first-round pick, especially if they’re asked to retain salary.
Also driving McCabe’s value is his contract. He’s cost-controlled and signed for two more seasons at a cap hit of $4MM. Based on recent quotes from Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas, that type of player is one for whom they’d be willing to part with a valuable asset. Dubas said earlier in the week that he’s hesitant to part with a first-round pick or a top prospect for a player on an expiring contract.
However, Toronto already has a group of six quality defensemen, and it’s unclear how McCabe would fit into the team’s roster. While Justin Holl is a pending unrestricted free agent, the team signed Conor Timmins to a contract extension earlier this week and has six NHL defensemen locked in for next season.
It shouldn’t diminish McCabe’s value, though. A first-round pick may be a steep asking price, but it could be worth it for a team on the precipice of winning a Stanley Cup. McCabe has continued to post strong advanced defensive metrics this season, even on a hapless Blackhawks team. He’s not a complete offensive liability either and has years of experience playing a top-four role.
McCabe has 15 points in 47 games this season, averaging 19:25 per game.
If Davidson can get a 1st round pick and get somebody to take McCabe for the next 2 years by keeping half his salary for this year I’ll be impressed. I’d even give him a big ” Atta Boy”
They could definitely get a high 20’s 1st for McCabe. A top 4 defensemen, at a reasonable price for the next 2 years? Sure. But this is the Suck Hard fir Bedard era. They should be scraping everything not nailed down. If the trade deadline passes and Athanasiou, Domi, Jack Johnson, McCabe, Lafferty, Toews and Kane (all assuming good health) are still on this team, it will have been a massive failure for Davidson. I am even ok with them moving more defensemen like Murphy. Get guys like Mitchell, Reichel and Isaac Philips up playing consistently, draft several times in what is considered to be a very deep draft, add that heap of talent with Nazar and Korchinski and watch this team compete again.
Davidson has ZERO control over whether Kane, Toews, Murphy and McCabe are still here after the deadline. They all have Full or partial No Movement Clauses thanks to Stan Bowman- The gift that keeps on giving. So that puts into perspective your ideas for what he should do. He might not be able to even move those 4. But Domi, Anathesiou and Johnson should all go no problem and maybe bring Max back next year. Good Faceoff man and reliable and he should even get a raise because they’ll have more Cap Space.