When we look at the 2022-2023 season for the Chicago Blackhawks, what is important? Wins? No. Maybe the lack there of to secure the best lottery odds. Development? No, for the simple reason that we don't currently have a prospect stable large enough and of age to be here at this level yet. So what is the most important thing?
From my point of view, it is turning assets into those prospects that have a chance to be Blackhawks when the team is ready to transcend into a perennial playoff team. That isn't Jake McCabe. He has 2.5 years (@ 4m per) left on his deal and has been playing as a confident and dependable top 4 defensiveman all season.
He also doesn't have a full NMC (no-movement clause) like Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Seth Jones do. So for me, that makes him our Most Important Player (MIP). His value is climbing and teams are beginning to have interest. Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) on his 32 Thoughts: The Podcast (with Jeff Marek) even mentioned that Edmonton may already have some interest in McCabe. He added that he believed that a team like Pittsburgh could also develop interest (his opinion).
From my standpoint, discussed yesterady here... I do not believe that Patrick Kane will be traded. That means trying to obtain a late 1st or multiple 2nd or 3rd round picks may prove difficult. Max Domi is a UFA, Connor Murphy is not playing up to his normal consistent top 4 stature (in my opinion), and the other players have full NMC as I discussed. That leaves Jake McCabe.
He does have a modified 7 team no trade clause built in, however that does leave 24 available teams in which to do business with. I see the Oilers, Penguins, Leafs, or Capitals as teams that could use a steady veteran top 4 right away. Would they part with a 1st rounder for 2.5 years of McCabe? Maybe. To be honest I believe it is quite close. He turned 29 a few months ago and does have a detailed injury history. However, he appears to be healthy and has played some of his best hockey in years of late.
This season is likely to be remembered by where the ping pong ball lands (again if it's not Bedard, we will be ok as Fantilli, Michkov, and Carlsson are all great), but it will be these type of deals that will help fortify our prospect cache to fill in our roster moving forward. If I had to guess, McCabes' current value is a 2nd round pick and a B (recent 2nd-3rd round selection) rated prospect and only if he takes his play up a little would we net a late 1st round pick from a team at the top of the standings.