Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe left the game on Thursday night after he suffered a lower-body injury in the first period.
It’s unsure whether or not he’ll play on Saturday night, but I’d suspect the team to be cautious with him. Although his injury put a damper on the team’s blue-line, in reality won’t affect the team that much.
Throughout the first seven games, McCabe’s play has been below average. As mentioned in James Tanner’s article earlier, “on the season, scoring chances are 62-46 for the opposition whenever McCabe plays. The high-danger scoring chances are 64% in favor of the opposition, and the Leafs have been outscored 7-3 when he is on the ice, while his expected goals rating is 44%.”
So essentially when McCabe is on the ice, the team has a much higher chance to get scored on.
McCabe is averaging the fourth most defensive minutes on the team this year, so it’s not like he’s even on the ice that often, compared to his teammates, so that makes the stats even more incriminating. I’d actually be happier if McCabe was averaging 25 minutes per night and this were his stats because it would mean he’s playing against the opposition’s best players, but instead, he’s only playing 16 minutes each night and is a liability every time he steps on the ice.
So although losing an NHL caliber defenseman is not ideal, his absence could actually make the Leafs better. We’ll see how long he’s out, but here are three defenseman who could fill his shoes if he’s out long-term.