June 25, 2024

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The Maple Leafs trade Jake McCabe from the Blackhawks: How does that fit into rebuilding Chicago?

Written by Mark Lazerus, Scott Powers, and Joshua Kluck

Toronto announced Monday that the Black Hawks are trading defenseman Jack McCabe to the Maple Leafs. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Chicago received a 2025 conditional first-round pick, a 2026 second-round pick, Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev in exchange for McCabe, Sam Laverty, a conditional fifth-round pick in 2024 and a conditional fifth-round pick in 2025.
  • McCabe has scored 20 points (two goals and 18 assists) in 55 games with the Blackhawks this season.
  • The 29-year-old defender has a plus-minus-plus-7 rating this season.
  • McCabe signed a four-year contract with Chicago in July 2021 after spending eight seasons with the Buffalo Sabers.

the athleteInstant Analysis:

How does this trade fit into the plan to rebuild Chicago?

Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has been chasing after as many recruiting picks as possible since he was promoted last season. This trade continues in this trend. He might have liked first- and second-round picks sooner than 2025 and 2026, but there are still first-round picks in the near future. With those draft picks now added to the tally, the Blackhawks have seven first-round picks and eight second-round picks over the next four draft picks. In addition, they only earned three first-round picks and two second-round picks in 2022.

If the Blackhawks can land enough of those draft picks, especially if they can get a top four draft pick in 2023, they should be on their way to rebuilding. – the authorities

What do the Leafs get at McCabe and Lafferty?

McCabe’s first season in Chicago, coming off major knee surgery, was a disaster, but he’s looked like his old self this season, a solid, consistent defenseman. How effective is it this season? Well, the Blackhawks have a -53 goal difference at 5-on-5 but they outscored opponents 41-39 with McCabe on the ice. He brings a little snarl, too, and is a darling in the locker room. Getting him a two-year contract for just $2 million thanks to the Blackhawks’ salary retention is quite a coup, even for a future first-round pick. And after nearly a decade into his NHL career, McCabe will finally make the playoffs.

Lafferty, part of Alex Nylander’s junk trade last year, showed up in Chicago, emerging as a dynamic force on both ends of the rink. One of the fastest players in the league, always on the move, Lafferty has set career highs in goals (10) and assists (11) this season. With his speed and intelligence, he is a very effective penalty killer, tied for the league lead with four shorthanded goals. – lazerus

Go deeper

NHL Trade Scores: The Maple Leafs get high marks for the addition of Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty

Why does Kyle Dubas make this move?

It’s hard not to read this trade as an attempt to keep up with the ongoing arms race in the Eastern Conference. While the Leafs made one of the biggest flops leading up to the trade deadline with the acquisitions of Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils have all made significant additions over the past few weeks.

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The Leafs’ path to the Stanley Cup Final out of the Eastern Conference will likely pass through at least two of those teams, so the additions of McCabe and Lafferty seem like efforts by Toronto General Manager Dubas to give his team the kind of depth and physicality that should help them in what could It would be a grueling playoff. – Clock

Where does Lafferty fit into the foliage?

Lafferty has stuck through the Cards’ last two meetings against the Blackhawks in February as an energetic depth forward who can move quickly and isn’t afraid to throw his body. While he won’t do much offense, it’s become clear that Dubas and the Leafs want to build a fourth line that can withstand the physical losses of the playoffs. Could a streak of, say, Zach Aston-Reese, Acciari and Lafferty, for example, weaken the opposition in the playoffs?

While it’s still too early to tell what the bottom six players on the team will look like at the time of the playoffs, you can make a case for the Leafs identifying an area of ​​weakness in previous playoff series, particularly when the team put up seasoned veterans who couldn’t. Keeping up the qualifying pace, I tried to get things right. – Clock

What is Maccabee with foliage?

Although McCabe didn’t put in his best performance against the Leafs in February, he serves as a pretty reliable defenseman who now has a good hit and gives Sheldon Cave some versatility in his blue line. There will be some pieces moving around: Justin Hall has fallen out of favor, if only slightly, with Keefe lately. Although McCabe is a left-footed shooter, could Hall be lowered into the lineup? More likely scenario: Could this trade signal the end of Rasmus Sanden’s chances of playing in the playoffs?

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The Leafs needed some ugliness to fill the hole left by Jake Muzzin’s absence. They will probably view McCabe as that guy. – Clock

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(Photo: Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)