"McCabe had a fine freshman year for the Badgers, and showed more significant improvement to his offensive upside than what he
displayed during his time with the US National Program. I was quite surprised during the first few games of the college season to see
McCabe lining up on Wisconsin's first power play unit along with super prospect Justin Schultz, seeing as McCabe got limited if any PP
time on the US Under-18 team in the second half of last season. He doesn't have a standout skill but he's a smart player with above-
average overall sense in terms of his reads and vision who can make a fine outlet and can also see the stretch play. McCabe has a
decent shot, playing his off-wing on the PP and was able to open up and use a fine one-timer. He's a reliable defensive player who
regularly sticks tight to his assignments, is pretty strong and effective in his one-on-one battles, and doesn't hurt his team with brain
cramp mistakes. McCabe is a little undersized for the position, but he should projects to be okay in the physical game at the highest
level. His skating also needs a little bit of work; while he's not a fringe skater, he doesn't generate a whole lot of power from his
movements and certainly isn't average."
"Jake is more of a defending type player but may be able to contribute a measure of offense in time because he has no hesitation in
jumping into the play and trying to make a difference offensively. His skating base is decent but his agility and quickness will have to
improve to be able to have success at the NHL level. He competes and plays a determined style of game but he doesn't possess a
punishing aspect to his game or one that gets the attention of opponents and can keep them off balance. Without an improvement in
his skating, he will find himself off balance and challenged vs. speed and in a quick pace. He has good sense and makes plays with the
puck that are solid and safe. He isn't hesitant to try to initiate things with the puck but his game is defensive positioning and trying to
make it challenging for opponents to get scoring chances. Has time to improve and there isn't any major drawback that indicates he
"For such a young player, McCabe thinks the game remarkably well. He possesses excellent vision and anticipates/follows 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. Another notable characteristic of McCabe’s is his skating. He has good
agility and moves well both north-south and laterally."
“We actually McCabe rated at the end of the first round. We weren’t sure if we were going to get a forward or defense, but he was too
high up on our board. He played for (Rochester head coach) Ron Rolston before, so we know about his character.”
Much like 37th ranked Phil Di Giuseppe, McCabe’s late birthday had him play out his draft year in the college ranks. The transition from the National Team Development Program to the older, stronger college game appeared to be an easy one for the Wisconsin defenseman. McCabe, who played with top NCAA defensemen John Ramage and Justin Schultz all season, is an agile defenseman who focuses on defense first with very under rated offensive abilities. He has a great shot and can be a great set up man on the power play. While his lack of physical play is amplified in playing college this season, McCabe was frequently getting out manned this season.
I like the pick. A little high but we got the guy we wanted. Hopefully he develops his 2way a little more but his skating his good and Defensive guys are always good to have. I like the Wisconsin D connections as well.
Jake McCabe learned how to act like a pro when Ron Rolston, now the Amerks' coach, guided him at the U.S. national development program. He hopes the lessons he's learning now at the University of Wisconsin teach him how to be a No. 1 defenseman in the NHL.
The Sabres selected McCabe in the second round of the NHL draft with the 44th overall pick, and they got a 6-foot, 195-pounder who is polished on and off the ice.
"I’m a two-way defenseman," McCabe said in Consol Energy Center. "I’m used in all situations. I’m comfortable in all situations. I think I’m a leader. I’m out there blocking shots for my teammates, and that’s what I enjoy doing. I think I’m a competitor. I’m at my best when I’m going out there and making a good first hit, good first shift, and I just want to be reliable in all situations: penalty kill, power play. I want to be able to comfortable eventually taking on a team’s top line."