The Buffalo Sabres will be without Jake McCabe for at least one game. The defenceman did not make the team’s one-game road trip for a game against the St. Louis Blues. The team announced the news early Thursday morning alongside some minor events.
The Sabres have announced the following updates for today's practice. pic.twitter.com/rE7Cu57FoA
— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) January 7, 2020
Jake McCabe Out With Injury
The 26-year-old defender has been a minor offensive contributor through Buffalo’s first half. McCabe has two goals and seven points in 41 games while averaging 19:23 minutes per game. His primary value is in his physical game with 60 hits and team-best 61 blocks. McCabe is also tied for second among regular defenders in defensive zone starts at 55.4 percent. His 2:45 in short-handed ice time narrowly edges out Rasmus Ristolainen for best among Sabres skaters and he is just under 50 percent in terms of Corsi For.
All these numbers add up to a player who does not dominate a game but helps control it in a significant way. The Sabres are not a strong offensive squad but that only magnifies how important their defence is this year. They are slightly below league average in terms of goals-against but not as bad as 2018-19. McCabe’s signing in August is part of what has made Buffalo stronger on defence.
What This Means for the Future
It is unlikely this injury factors in much for the near future. He will miss the next game against St. Louis but could return January 11th against the Vancouver Canucks. A two-game absence could indicate something more serious. The team recently recalled Lawrence Pilut from AHL Rochester. The 23-year-old has not played in the NHL in 2019-20 but does have five goals and 21 points in 29 games this season. He played in 33 games in 2018-19 with one goal and six points. Pilut might not play depending on how long McCabe is out but could be a factor moving forward.