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Blackhawks Bolster Blue Line, Sign Jake McCabe to 4-Year Deal

The Blackhawks remain busy in NHL free agency by signing former Sabres defenseman Jake McCabe to a four-year deal.
Jake McCabe Blackhawks

Photo: BuffaloSabres/Twitter

The Chicago Blackhawks continue to stay busy to open the NHL's offseason frenzy. After trading defenseman Nikita Zadorov and signing forward Jujhar Khaira earlier today, GM Stan Bowman has signed defenseman Jake McCabe to a four-year deal.

McCabe's pact will carry a $4 million salary cap hit. The 27-year-old blue liner previously spent eight years with the Buffalo Sabres to begin his NHL career, where he posted 77 points (18 goals, 59 assists) in 353 games.

McCabe's strength is his defensive ability. He has 517 blocked shots, 107 takeaways, and 522 hits while averaging 19:15 TOI across his career. The Blackhawks will likely deploy him in a similar manner to his career defensive zone start percentage of 57.4%.

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One concern surrounding McCabe is his health. The defenseman tore his right ACL, MCL, and meniscus in a game on February 20, 2021. He underwent surgery and his initial recovery timeline was listed at six to eight months, but he says he will be ready to go for the beginning of Blackhawks training camp.

With this signing coming in the wake of acquiring Seth Jones and Marc-Andre Fleury, the Blackhawks continue to build a roster they believe can compete in 2021-22. McCabe will be an immediate contributor on the back end whenever he hits the ice, but the Blackhawks will likely have to move another defenseman to make space from a salary cap and roster standpoint. That move may be coming soon, as Bruce Garrioch of TSN reports the team is looking to move Calvin de Haan ($4.55 million cap hit).