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McCabe inks two-year deal, still waiting on Ullmark arbitration decision

August 3, 2019, 10:37 AM ET [865 Comments]
Michael Pachla
Buffalo Sabres Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT

Jake McCabe and the Buffalo Sabres avoided an arbitratrion hearing set for tomorrow by coming to terms on a 2yr./$5.7 million deal, the team announced today. The 25 yr. old left handed defenseman, who was drafted 44th overall by the Sabres in 2012, was coming off of 3yr./$4.8 million deal signed in June, 2016.

With the signing, the only thing left for the Sabres when it comes to their restricted free agents is to find out the arbitrator's decision on goalie Linus Ullmark who case was heard yesterday.

McCabe is coming off of back-to-back seasons where he failed to hit 60 games due to injuries. The 6'1" 206 lb. native of Eau Claire, Wisconsin scored only 46 points (10+36) over the past three seasons but is known more for his rugged play and defense as he had the highest percentage of d-zone starts (67.18%,) according to natural stattrick.com, and has been a stalwart on the Sabres penalty kill.

Buffalo general manger Jason Botterill has done some yeoman's work in this arbitration period. It kicked off with an arbiter's decision on forward Evan Rodirgues which gave him an AAV of $2 million and the decision on depth forward Remi Elie went his way as he got the two-way deal he was looking for. Although McCabe's bump might seem high, having a bottom-pairing d-man who can play second-pair minutes while being an asset on the penalty kill for $2.85 million/season isn't a bad deal.

All that's left is the decision on Ullmark which should come soon. The Sabres came in with $800K while Ullmark asked for $2.65 million/season.

As of now, according to CapFriendly, Buffalo sits a smidge under the cap ceiling with around $ $265K in cap-space. Ullmark's contract will put them over but their roster is also maxed out at 23 players right now so a move will need to be made. Options for Botterill heading into the season will included waives or trades but also might include a buyout, which he's not a fan of.

Perhaps he'll veer from that stance a bit as forward Vladimir Sobotka is a prime buyout candidate this year. The 32 yr. old forward, who came in the Ryan O'Relly deal, didn't work out all that well last season and he only has one more year left on a contract that has a $3.5 million cap hit. A buyout of Sobotka would represent a $1.5 million cap-hit this year and $1 million next season.
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