Like every other season, the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in every available player on the trade market. That’s what the media would like us to believe anyway. Fans must remember that rumors are just that, rumors. Every rumor reported should be taken with a grain of salt.
According to Frank Seravalli of dailyfaceoff.com, the Toronto Maple Leafs are interested in Chicago defenseman Jake McCabe.
Seravalli was recently on TLN’s Leafs Morning Take with Nick Alberga. The two discussed which players Toronto general manager Kyle Dubas may be targeting.
McCabe was one of the players mentioned.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Jake McCabe
McCabe is a left-shooting defenseman who is 29 years old, 6’1, 204 Lbs, and has two more years left on his current contract.
His cap hit is $4 million, but that shouldn’t stop Dubas from trying to acquire him. Chicago is in full rebuild mode, and they have a ton of cap space. For the right price, Toronto could get Chicago to retain 50% of McCabe’s cap, thus giving Toronto McCabe’s services for $2 million over the next two seasons. (Salary cap info from capfriendly.com)
Another thing that shouldn’t hinder trade talk between Toronto and Chicago is McCabe’s seven-team no-trade list. According to Seravalli, Toronto is the only reported Canadian city not on the list. He also said that he believes Toronto has had an interest in McCabe for some time. We’ll find out if that’s true between now and the March 3rd trade deadline.
Jake McCabe offers Toronto a top-four defenseman who averages over 19 minutes a game. He blocks shots (93) and hits (94) regularly and is not afraid to drop the gloves. I don’t think it would take long for McCabe to win over the fans in Toronto. He is exactly the kind of defenseman Toronto needs to add heading into the NHL playoffs. McCabe also has 13 points in 42 games this season.
(Stats from hockey-reference.com)
If Dubas can get Chicago to retain 50% of McCabe’s deal, and Toronto can have him for the rest of this season and the next two seasons for $2 million, it’s much better than overpaying for a rental. Toronto would have to give up more than Chicago’s asking price for them to agree to retain, but it would still benefit them greatly.
The fact that McCabe can also play both the right and left side means Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe can use him anywhere if another defenseman gets injured. Toronto currently has seven defensemen on its roster. With T.J. Brodie returning soon, they’ll have eight.
Justin Holl and Jordie Benn are pending UFAs and could be traded at the deadline. Moving out Holl’s $ 2 million and replacing him with McCabe for the same amount but with more term seems like an easy decision for Dubas.