By Mark Lazerus, Scott Powers and Joshua Kloke
The Blackhawks are trading defenseman Jake McCabe to the Maple Leafs, Toronto announced Monday. Here’s what you need to know:
- Chicago received a 2025 first-round pick, a 2026 second-round pick, Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev in exchange for McCabe, Sam Lafferty, a 2024 fifth-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick.
- McCabe has 20 points (two possessions and 18 assists) through 55 games with the Blackhawks this season.
- The 29-year-old defenseman has a plus-7 turnover this season.
- McCabe signed a four-year contract with Chicago in July 2021 after spending eight years with the Buffalo Sabres.
How does this trade fit into Chicago’s rebuilding plan?
Blackhawks general manager Kyle Davidson has been after as many top picks as he can get since being promoted last season. This transaction continues this trend. He would probably like the first and second round picks earlier than 2025 and 2026, but they are still in the early future. With those draft picks now added to the count, the Blackhawks have seven first-round picks and eight second-round picks over the next four drafts. Additionally, they only have a first-round pick and two picks in 2022.
If the Blackhawks can land enough of those picks, especially if they can get the fourth overall pick in 2023, they should be well on their way to rebuilding. – Power
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What are the Leafs getting in McCabe and Lafferty?
McCabe’s first season in Chicago, coming off major knee surgery, was something of a disaster, but he looked like his old self this season, a tough, defensive player. How effective has he been this season? Well, the Blackhawks have a 53-goal differential at 5-on-5 but have outscored opponents 41-39 with McCabe on the ice. It also brings a lot of fruit, and is a favorite in the balance room. To have him for two years at just $2 million thanks to the Blackhawks’ salary cap is a nice coup, even for a future first round pick. And nearly a decade into his NHL career, McCabe would finally get to play in the playoffs.
Lafferty, part of something of a scrap trade for Alex Nylander last year, has come into his own in Chicago, emerging as a powerful force on the other end of the slot. One of the fastest players in the league, Lafferty is always on the move, and has won in goals (10) and assists (11) this season. Along with his speed and skill, he has a deadly offensive impact, tied for the league lead with four short goals. – Lazarus
NHL trade score: Maple Leafs get big marks to add Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty
Why would Kyle Dubas make this move?
It’s hard not to read this trade as an attempt to keep up with the arms race going on in the Eastern Conference. While the Leafs made one of the biggest changes 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 been important in the past. . a few weeks.
The Leafs’ road to the Stanley Cup Finals from the Eastern Conference will likely run through at least two of these teams, so the additions of McCabe and Lafferty feel like an effort by Toronto general manager Dubas to give his team something like that. depth and physicality that should help them in what could be a tough game. – Cloke
Where does Lafferty fit in for the Leafs?
Lafferty stood out during the Leafs’ last two meetings against the Blackhawks in February as a deep player who can move quickly and isn’t afraid to throw his body around. While it won’t cause a serious injury, it’s clear Dubas and the Leafs want to build a fourth line that can handle the physical load of the play. Can a line of, say, Zach Aston-Reese, Acciari and Lafferty, for example, destroy the opposition in the game?
While it’s still too early to tell what the sixth-round team will look like come playoff time, you can make a case that the Leafs have discovered an area of weakness in the past few games, especially when the team would have kicked out the veterans who couldn’t. continue the pace of the game, and they tried to fix things. – Cloke
Where does McCabe fit in with the Leafs?
Although McCabe didn’t have his best game against the Leafs in February, he serves as a top four defenseman who now has a nice cap and gives Sheldon Keefe some experience on his blue line. There will be some parts of movement around: Justin Holl has fallen out of favor, if only a little, with Keefe as of late. Even though McCabe is a left shot, could Holl be moved into the lineup? Another possibility: could this trade signal the end of Rasmus Sandin’s chance to play in the playoffs?
The Leafs need some offense to fill the hole left by the loss of Jake Muzzin. They will probably look to McCabe as the man. – Cloke
(Photo: Bill Smith / NHLI via Getty Images)
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