Jake McCabe
Image: U. of Wisconsin

Jake McCabe


Eau Claire Wisconsin

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









2nd round (44th overall), 2012


200 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • B


2009-10: Jake McCabe joined the USA National Team Development Program after skating for Wisconsin’s Eau Claire Memorial High School in 2008-09. He made one appearance with the U18 team and skated in all 52 games for the U17 squad. He was scoreless with 2 penalty minutes in his only U18 game and had 8 assists with 52 penalty minutes in U17 play. He had 1 assist in six games as the USA won gold at the 2010 U17 World Hockey Challenge. McCabe committed to playing college hockey at Wisconsin in 2011-12.

2010-11: McCabe returned to Ann Arbor for his second season with the USA NTDP. In 46 games with the U18 squad he had 4 goals with 12 assists and 14 penalty minutes. He had 1 assist and was plus-one in six games at the 2011 U18 World Junior Championship as the USA won the tournament for the third straight year.

2011-12: McCabe played 26 games as a freshman for Wisconsin – missing ten games early in the season after suffering a hand injury. Playing on a veteran Badger defense corps that included NHL prospects John Ramage and Justin Schultz, he scored 3 goals with 6 assists and had 12 penalty minutes. Wisconsin struggled for much of the season before winning four of its final five games; finishing 10th in the 12-team WCHA. In the WCHA playoffs the Badgers split the first two games with third-place Denver before losing the decisive third game of their first-round series in overtime. McCabe was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 47th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft.

2012-13: McCabe emerged as one of Wisconsin’s top defensemen in his sophomore season after winning a gold medal with the USA squad at the 2013 World Junior Championship. Skating alongside junior Frankie Simonelli on the Badgers’ top pairing, he led Wisconsin defensemen in points with 3 goals and 18 assists in 38 games and was +14 with 50 penalty minutes. The Badgers finished tied for fourth in the WCHA and earned an NCAA bid after capturing the WCHA Broadmoor Trophy; defeating Colorado College, 3-2 in the championship game. Wisconsin lost to Massachusetts-Lowell, 6-1, in the NCAA Northeast Regional tournament. McCabe scored 3 goals with 3 assists and was +9 with 16 penalty minutes in six games for the USA at the WJC. The United States defeated Sweden, 3-1, in the gold medal game.

2013-14: McCabe signed a three-year entry-level contract with Buffalo in April 2014 following his junior season at Wisconsin and made his NHL debut with the Sabres in a game at St. Louis on April 3rd. He finished the year playing for the USA in the 2014 World Championship. McCabe had 1 assist and was -3 with 15 penalty minutes, averaging 15 minutes of ice time in seven games with the Sabres. He scored 8 goals with 17 assists and was -6 with 53 penalty minutes in 36 games for Wisconsin. The Badgers earned an NCAA Tournament berth, defeating Ohio State, 5-4 in overtime, in the championship game of the inaugural Big Ten tournament after finishing second in the regular season. Wisconsin lost 5-2 to North Dakota in the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals. McCabe was -2 with no points and 2 penalty minutes, averaging 10:26 of ice time in eight games for Team USA. The USA finished sixth, falling to the Czech Republic, 4-3, in the quarterfinals.

2014-15: McCabe played two games with Buffalo during a February call-up, spending most of his first pro season with Sabres’ AHL affiliate Rochester. He had no points nor penalties, averaging 11 minutes of ice time in his brief stint with Buffalo. McCabe was the second-leading scorer amongst defensemen for Rochester. 

Talent Analysis

McCabe thinks the game remarkably well for a young player. He has excellent vision and anticipates/follows the play quite well. While his decision-making does need to improve, it should come with development and maturity.  What makes McCabe so effective in defensive situations are his stick work and grit. McCabe is a strong skater who has good agility and moves well both north-south and laterally.


McCabe looked like he might crack the Buffalo lineup in 2014-15 but suffered an injury during the preseason. Instead, he had an outstanding season in the AHL, sharing the team’s Rookie of the Year award with Andrey Makarov. He will get a chance to crack the Sabres lineup in the fall, but will likely remain in Rochester for another season to fine tune his game. He is not very far away from being a contributor in the NHL and possesses top-four potential.

(Video) First NHL Goal: McCabe finds the net in Sabres’ loss

by Ken McKenna
Jake McCabe - Buffalo Sabres

Photo: Buffalo Sabres rookie defenseman Jake McCabe celebrates his first NHL goal with teammates Zemgus Girgensons (L) and Marcus Foligno in the Sabres’ loss to the Florida Panthers (courtesy of Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe last week watched from the pressbox as teammate Marcus Foligno setup Jack Eichel for the rookie’s first NHL goal. A week later, Foligno did the same for McCabe as the defenseman scored his first in a 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers. Read more»

Stockpile of Buffalo Sabres prospects ready to contribute in the pros

by Ryan Womeldorf
Photo: Despite scoring below a point-per-game pace in regular season play, Vaclav Karabacek has managed 23 points (10 goals 13 assists) in 21 postseason games during the last two seasons with the Drakkar (Courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

Photo: Vaclav Karabacek has managed 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in 21 postseason games during his career in the QMJHL. (Courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres have been stockpiling assets for the past few years, but this season the team will put all of those accumulated prospects to good use. The 2014-15 outfit was laden with veterans, allowing the youngsters in the system to continue to develop without being exposed to the losing that the Sabres had become accustomed to. Read more»

Top 20 Buffalo Sabres prospects led by rookies Eichel and Reinhart

by Kristopher Bras
Photo: Jack Eichel, who will make the Buffalo Sabres in camp, could be the most talented American hockey player in the history of the game. (Courtesy of Ken Andersen/NHLPA via Getty Images)

Photo: Jack Eichel, who will make the Buffalo Sabres as an 18-year-old, could be the most talented American hockey player in the history of the game. (Courtesy of Ken Andersen/NHLPA via Getty Images)

The Buffalo Sabres have quickly transitioned from a desperate, broken hockey club to one full of potential and promise—and not just because of Jack Eichel. After some daring moves by GM Tim Murray during the offseason, it’s clear that the team has made it a priority to ensure its young star is surrounded with talent as he grows into an elite franchise center.

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Buffalo Sabres flaunt wide array of talented up-and-comers in 2014-15

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Photo: Sean Malone scored eight goals and 10 assists for Harvard this season, despite being limited to 21 games. (Courtesy of Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

Photo: Sean Malone scored eight goals and 10 assists for Harvard this season, despite being limited to 21 games. (Courtesy of Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire)

If anything, the 2014-15 season indicated that the Buffalo Sabres are indeed on the right track. The past two seasons have been arguably the worst stretch of hockey the organization has ever seen, but still the future is bright. The majority of the team’s prospects took big steps forward, such as Justin Bailey, while others, such as Sam Reinhart, re-affirmed their status as one of the league’s top prospects. Read more»

Buffalo Sabres flaunt deep prospect pool despite recent trade

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Justin Bailey has scored 12 goals and 14 assists in 20 games since being traded to the Soo Greyhounds at the trade deadline.

Photo: Justin Bailey has scored 12 goals and 14 assists in 20 games since being traded to the Soo Greyhounds at the trade deadline. (Courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Only a team with a wealth of young talent like the Buffalo Sabres could have put together a package appetizing enough to wrestle Evander Kane and Zach Bogosian away from Winnipeg. Outgoing prospects Joel Armia and Brendan Lemieux are promising young players, but the organization has plenty of others—and the best are still in the fold. Read more»

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