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Maple Leafs reportedly ‘love’ Jake McCabe; extension likely this offseason

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Shane Seney
1 month ago
From all accounts, the Toronto Maple Leafs love Jake McCabe, and McCabe loves being with the Maple Leafs.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had lots to say about the Maple Leafs during the latest episode of 32 Thoughts: The Podcast and made a point of bringing up McCabe’s future, with a potential contract extension coming at some point this offseason
It’s going to be interesting, are they going to try to extend McCabe? I heard in addition to how he played, the organization loves how him behind the scenes, especially when they went down three games to one. A lot of the attitude came from him, the pride with the team, the pride in his teammates, the us against the world mentality that would make Pat Quinn proud. Quinn was the king of ‘us against the world’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if they looked at him and say ‘what can we do here?’
McCabe is signed through the 2024-25 season at just $2 million against the cap, thanks to some handy work from Kyle Dubas and the Chicago Blackhawks retaining half of his salary. Brad Treliving now gets tasked with trying to get a long-term deal completed with the veteran blueliner.
McCabe came into his own this season with the Leafs. He set a career high in points during the regular season and carried his strong play into the first round against the Boston Bruins. As Friedman mentioned, McCabe’s attitude and his will to win was clear as day each and every game. You never had to question what type of game McCabe was going to play, every game he played hard-nosed hockey and made it tough on his opponents. He was Toronto’s most complete defenseman throughout the entire seven-game series against the Bruins and the only one to score a goal.

McCabe Learned From First Taste of Postseason Action

After the Maple Leafs were eliminated in the second round thanks to the Florida Panthers in 2023, McCabe, who was playing in his first-ever Stanley Cup Playoffs admitted he was a bit overwhelmed and perhaps wasn’t ready for how much the intensity was turned up during postseason action. That wasn’t the case at all this time around.
McCabe learned, developed and made adjustments. He played the second-most minutes of any Leafs blueliner, playing well over 21 minutes a night, playing in every situation, including hefty work on the penalty kill. Most of the regular season and the first-round series, McCabe spent playing alongside Simon Benoit and with Treliving giving Benoit a three-year extension of his own, it would make a ton of sense to try and keep these two together moving forward.
Toronto is projected to hold $51.2 million in cap space for the 2025-26 season and while there’s some big names coming off the books like Mitch Marner and John Tavares and the potential of their contracts being extended, there’s also an apparent culture change coming. Maple Leafs management may look to get McCabe locked up before they even consider what to do with both Marner and Tavares.
Treliving should address his defensive depth at some point this summer during free agency and via the trade market but it became very clear that McCabe is the type of defenseman you need in the Maple Leafs’ top four. McCabe looks for contact and the Maple Leafs need much more of the same moving into next season and beyond.
Regardless of the number crunching that’s going to take place over the course of this summer, the Maple Leafs are very likely to offer McCabe a contract extension and rightfully so. He continues to develop his complete two-way game and plays with some snarl. McCabe’s teammates love him and it’s now become obvious from Friedman’s reporting, the Maple Leafs loved every second of what they saw from McCabe, on and off the ice.

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