NHL Draft Prospect Profile #46: Jake McCabe


Drafted 44th Overall by the Buffalo Sabres.

After spending 2 years with the United States National Team Development program, and winning a gold medal at the 2011 IIHF Under 18 World Hockey Championships,  Jake McCabe moved on to play college hockey this year.  The young McCabe acquitted himself very well, playing important minutes as a freshman for the Wisconsin Badgers.  Another unfortunate victim of the 2012 injury curse, a freak injury saw McCabe sever a tendon in his hand in October and miss much of the first half of the season.  McCabe would however return to the lineup in the new year, and saw important minutes at Even Strength, and some time on the powerplay.  McCabe joins Phil DiGiuseppe of Michigan as highly rated draft prospects who already have a year of NCAA hockey under their belt.

Born Oct 12 1993 — Eau Claire, WI
Height 6.01 — Weight 201 — Shoots Left
2009-10 U.S. National Under-17 Team USHL 34 0 5 5 32 -9
2010-11 U.S. National Development Team USHL 19 2 4 6 4 6
2011-12 U. of Wisconsin WCHA 26 3 9 12 12

McCabe is a very good skater.  He has a very good top end speed, quick acceleration and a smooth stride.  He pivots and changes directiions quickly and efficiently.  He has good agility and balance, and uses his edges well.  McCabe’s excellent skating game helps him in all aspects of the game.  He is good at rushing with the puck, is capable of getting to a lot of loose pucks, is able to create space for himself in both the offensive and defensive zone, and is rarely beaten by pure speed off the rush.  It is his biggest asset in creating the all around game that makes McCabe an intriguing prospect.

McCabe is at his best defensively, even against older competition in the NCAA.  As mentionned he is very good defending against the rush, keeping his opponent in front of him, and using a quick stick to knock the puck off an opponent’s stick.  He’s not known as a big hitter, but is willing to engage in physical battles along the boards, and in front of his own net.  McCabe has excellent hockey IQ, and plays a strong positional game, using his body and his stick to cut off passing and shooting lanes.

McCabe also has a decent offensive skill set.  He’s not much of a gambler, and doesn’t do it often, but his skating does give him the ability to go end to end at times.  He’s a smart player, who makes a good first pass to start the breakout in his own end, and has good vision and passing skills to make plays in the offensive end.  McCabe has a hard slap shot which he is able to keep low and on net.  While he doesn’t project as a huge point producer going forward, we do think he can be a valuable asset in both ends of the rink.

McCabe projects as a solid two-way blueliner at the NHL level.  His ceiling is that of a second pairing blue liner.  McCabe has the physical tools and skills to get special teams time as both a PKer, and as a defenceman on the second unit of a PP.  We think his potential is to end up as a similar player to Carl Gunnarson of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

… and thats the Last Word.