Jake McCabe was acquired near last year’s trade deadline from the Chicago Blackhawks.
He joined the Toronto Maple Leafs for 21 games and was very effective, at least during the regular season.
McCabe posted a CF% of 53% and an XGoals rating of 54% on the way to absolutely insane results: the Leafs beat their opponents 20-8 when he was on the ice.
Of course, it takes a lot of luck to get those kinds of results, and the playoffs were not kind to McCabe.
The Leafs were outscored 11-5 in the playoffs, and McCabes numbers were terrible. The Leafs allowed more shot-attempts, shots, scoring chances and goals than they themselves picked up, and were thoroughly dominated when McCabe was on the ice.
The Leafs are really hoping that Regular Season McCabe is the version they get this year, because playoff McCabe hurt the team.
If McCabe can get back to what he did when he first joined the Leafs – and it was a domination until the playoffs rolled around – then he will be an incredible bargain because the Blackhawks are paying half his salary and he has only a $2 million dollar cap-hit.
If McCabe is the top-pairing-worthy borderline star player they had last season for 21 games, then the Toronto Maple Leafs blue-line will be a lot better than people think this year.
However, his playoff performance was so horrible, and McCabe is going to turn 30 just after the season starts, so it’s impossible to know what he’s going to bring to the table this year.
The Leafs have Morgan Rielly, TJ Brodie and Jake McCabe as their top-three defensemen, and anyone being honest has no idea what to expect from any of them. This could be a solid top-four or the worst one in the NHL.
At this point you can’t know.