With the opening of NHL Free Agency, the Chicago Blackhawks came right out of the gate firing. They traded Nikita Zadorov and, after adding Tyler Johnson and (maybe) Marc-Andre Fleury, they’re bringing a new defenseman to the fold.
Chicago has signed defenseman Jake McCabe to a new four-year deal.
Defenseman Jake McCabe signs a four-year contract with a $4 million cap hit with the Blackhawks.
— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) July 28, 2021
That’s a bit higher than expected…
McCabe is coming off an injury-shortened season last year with the Buffalo Sabres, suffering an ACL injury. He is reportedly ready to return to the ice and should be ready to go for the start of training camp.
Jake McCabe says he has "zero concerns" about his knee injury. Expects to immediately return to his previous level, if not higher.
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) July 28, 2021
In his NHL career, McCabe (who turns 28-years-old in October) has skated in 353 games, all with the Sabres, with a grand total of 77 points. His best season came during the 2016-17 campaign, where he skated in 77 games with 20 points, averaging just over 20-minutes per game. He’s not an offensive-threat from the blue-line, but a left-shot, shutdown defenseman that should serve Chicago in a middle-pairing role.
Decent deal for McCabe who is a really strong defensive defenceman. Four years look about right too pic.twitter.com/1pxKVtFIyz
— dom at the athletic (@domluszczyszyn) July 28, 2021
Two fun notes about McCabe, other than he’s a former Wisconsin Badger, is that he was the Captain of Team USA for the 2013 World Junior Championships and helped the U.S. win Gold. One of his teammates on that 2013 World Junior Championship team was Seth Jones. Also, McCabe has called the Chicago-land area home for a while now.
His wife is from Downers Grove, he lives in Lakeview and he's been working out at Fifth Third Arena the past 5 summers.
"I got chills walking in the building today."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) July 28, 2021
How about that?
All-in-all so far, if the Blackhawks can make the salary cap math work, I’m not hating what they’ve done this week. I’ll get over the BS “rebuild” if they can ice a relatively competitive roster next season and it looks like they are headed in that direction. Granted, we are still just over two hours into free agency. Lots of summer ahead of us.