MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin junior defenseman Jake McCabe (Eau Claire, Wis.) will give up his final year of eligibility to sign a three-year, entry-level contract with the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. McCabe is expected to make his NHL debut on Thursday, when the Sabres skate on the road at the St. Louis Blues.
Drafted 44th overall and in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, McCabe will join former Badger All-American defenseman Jamie McBain on the Sabres blue line.
A 2014 first-team All-Big Ten defenseman and team assistant captain, McCabe led Wisconsin defensemen with eight goals and 25 points in 36 games played during the 2013-14 campaign. His total was good for second among Big Ten defenseman in all games. He also tallied 11 points in conference action, tying for third among Big Ten rear guards.
In 100 career games at Wisconsin, the 6-0 and 210-pound rear guard finishes with 14 goals, 58 points, 115 penalty minutes, seven power-play tallies, one short-handed score and four game-winning goals.
The 2013 third-team All-WCHA defenseman captained Team USA to a gold medal at the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia. He was named to the media all-star team for the tournament and ranked third among the tournament defensemen with three goals and six points, while ranking second among all skaters with a plus-9.
A past Academic All-Big Ten and WCHA All-Academic team member, McCabe led Badger defenseman with 21 points his sophomore season. McCabe is a left-handed shot and arrived at Wisconsin from USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.
McCabe’s departure makes it nine consecutive seasons that a Wisconsin men’s hockey player has left school early to sign a professional contract.