Mid-Season Grades For the Toronto Maple Leafs Defense

New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs
New York Islanders v Toronto Maple Leafs / Chris Tanouye/GettyImages
3 of 7

Jake McCabe

Jake McCabe has had a bit of a “Jeckyll and Hyde” season so far.  Since missing 6 games with a groin injury early in the season, McCabe has been very inconsistent.  He’ll play a strong game one night and then look completely lost the next.

On the positive side, McCabe has added some grit and toughness to the Toronto Maple Leafs blue line.  Offensively, McCabe doesn’t contribute a lot, but with 19 points already he will easily pass his career high of 22, set three seasons ago with Chicago.

McCabe has registered 117 hits (2nd on the team), kills penalties, and despite having just average size for an NHL defender, does a pretty good job of being physical in clearing out the front of the net.

So what’s the issue?  First, the Toronto Maple Leafs have too many D that struggle moving the puck up the ice quickly, and McCabe is in that group.

More importantly, McCabe is prone to dumb plays and bad turnovers.  Under pressure, he tends to blindly get rid of the puck, which generally ends up on an opponent’s stick.  After the Leafs give up a goal, too often we see a look of frustration on McCabe’s face as he realized it was “his” man that scored.

Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives, but McCabe can be better.

Grade: B-