Is Jake McCabe the Right Trade Target for the Maple Leafs?

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Jake McCabe “Rocketing Up” as a Trade Target, Toronto Already Interested?

Chicago Blackhawks

Frank Seravalli of The Daily Faceoff was on SportsNet 590 in Toronto yesterday to talk trade rumors. One name that came up was Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe, and Seravalli presented an interesting scenario.

He opens talking about the cost to get Columbus defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov apparently being too high for a number of buyers. Seravalli wonders why Gavrikov costs so much more than what the Oilers gave up for Brett Kulak last year (William Lagesson, a late-second rounder in 2022 and a seventh rounder in 2024).

The going cost for a defenseman is reportedly going to be a couple high picks (including at least one first-rounder). Seravalli wrote about the comparable deals to what the Blue Jackets are reportedly asking for Gavrikov yesterday as well.

With that in mind, he transitioned to the market for other defensemen who might be a good fit for teams looking for a defensive defenseman but who might not cost as much — in both dollars and trade capital. Which brought up McCabe.

Seravalli doubles-down on his belief that the Leafs need to add an experienced defenseman more than another scorer up front.

“All of that brings us back to a guy who’s rocketing up my trade targets list and a team that I believe the Toronto Maple Leafs have expressed interest in: Jake McCabe. He seems to have a really nice blend of acquisition cost while also having term on his contract. We know the Leafs’ preference at the end of the day is to get a defenseman with term; someone who I think is nice in terms of a similar stylistic fit to Gavrikov but doesn’t have the over-inflated price tag. And, when you look at Chicago and their cap space that they can wield, I believe they’re willing to retain half on McCabe. So that would give you two more years of Jake McCabe after this one at $2 million. It almost in a lot of ways de-risks you from whatever it is about McCabe that you might not like.”

Seravalli says the Leafs could send a couple guys down to make the cap space work and might need to get creative, but that “further highlights a guy like McCabe.”

The big question with McCabe, whose name has been hot in trade rumors the entire month of January, is his seven-team no-trade list, which some have speculated could be all seven teams in Canada. Some have also considered that Toronto may be the one Canadian team not on McCabe’s list, which could make this scenario more intriguing because Seravalli is right — McCabe (especially at a $2 million hit for two more years) would be a perfect get for the Leafs.

You can listen to Seravalli’s comments in the podcast link below (starting around the 35-minute mark).

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab