Buffalo Sabres: Jake McCabe Ready to Contribute in the NHL
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However, the prospect pool goes a lot deeper than those two, and Sabres fans have a lot of reasons to be excited about the future. This includes Jake McCabe, who is viewed as Buffalo’s top blue line prospect.
McCabe has already seen ice time in the NHL, having played in nine games during the last two seasons (picking up one assist along the way). However, to this point, he has not made much of an impression at the top level.
In fairness to the 2012 second round draft pick, it’s tough to look good when you’re playing on a roster that was as bad as the Sabres. Most players would fail to impress on a team which had the worst record the last two seasons, never mind a rookie.
Regardless, McCabe looks primed to contribute, after impressing during July’s development camp. In particular, Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma paid attention to the 21-year old.
Oct 3, 2014; Raleigh, NC, USA; Buffalo Sabres defensemen Jake McCabe (29) is congratulated by teammates after his 2nd period goal against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
Bylsma said at the time: “We look at them all week and you try to get evaluations of speed and skill, and what they can do. (However), this was a game situation and I thought (McCabe) showed really well – I thought he played really well defensively.
“He showed some physicality, stepped up on a rush, was good defensively. (He) was also really good offensively and in the offensive zone, controlling the play.”
The 2013 World Junior Championships gold medal winner spent most of the 2014-15 campaign with the Rochester Americans. Despite dealing with a concussion, he still looked good, scoring five goals and adding 24 assists in 57 games.
For his part, McCabe is aiming for a roster spot in the NHL during the upcoming season, as he told The Buffalo News back in June: ” I can’t say exactly where I’ll fit in, but I’m hoping to play my best hockey…and show the coaching staff I am ready to play at that next level.
“I’ve obviously played a few games at that level, and I think I fit in and can play at that NHL level and play against the top players in the world. I’m hoping to prove that in camp.”
Of course, there’s no guarantees the Eau Claire, Wisconsin native will start the season in Buffalo, especially when you consider all of the alternative options. Among those standing in his way include; Zach Bogosian, Josh Gorges, Rasmus Ristolainen, Mike Weber, Chad Ruhwedel, Mark Pysyk and Carlo Colaiacovo.
However, McCabe appears unfazed, as he told John Vogl of The Buffalo News: “It’s an exciting time to be in the Buffalo Sabres’ organization, and I couldn’t be happier with the spot I’m in.”
Overall, the 6 ft 1, 205 lb defenseman is going to see time with the Sabres this season. How much, will depend on him, but he certainly has the mindset required to succeed.
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