Buffalo Sabres head coach Ralph Krueger expressed serious worry yesterday when speaking about Jake McCabe’s injury and now we know why. The veteran defenseman suffered injuries to the ACL, MCL, and meniscus in his right knee and has been given a recovery timeline of six to eight months. McCabe was injured in a game against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. His season is over.
McCabe, 27, has emerged as one of the more reliable options on the entire Sabres roster over the last few seasons and was off to arguably the best start of his NHL career. Playing over 19 minutes a night, the left-show defenseman had just three points in 13 games but posted strong possession numbers as he routinely shut down opponents and moved the puck out of the zone. He will be sorely missed in the Buffalo lineup as they attempt to drag themselves out of the bottom of the East Division standings.
Not only does this end McCabe’s season, but there’s a chance it could mean an end to his career with the Sabres as well. The alternate captain is an unrestricted free agent this summer and would need a new deal if he’s to return to Buffalo in 2021-22. Given that an eight-month timeline puts the start of next season in jeopardy, it’s hard to know exactly where his market will be. The timing couldn’t be worse for a player looking to cash in with a multi-year contract.