Blackhawks trade Jake McCabe and Sam Lafferty to Maple Leafs for picks and prospects

Anaheim, Calif. — The Black Hawks traded defenseman Jake McCabe and quarterback Sam Lafferty to the Maple Leafs on Monday in their biggest deal yet in February.

In return, the Hawks received a 2025 first-round and 2026 second-round pick as well as low-level draft prospects Joey Anderson and Pavel Gogolev.

“In our effort to acquire future assets and continue to rebuild, draft picks and prospects are the currency of value to us at this time,” said general manager Kyle Davidson. “We’ve managed to get some really high-value assets in this trade. It’s obviously not easy to move on from good players…but you have to give something to get something, and we’re happy to come back.”

The fine print contains some intricate details. The Hawks have sent conditional fifth-round picks in 2024 and 2025 to Toronto, which could become a third-round pick if McCabe falls below the thresholds a few games into next season.

The Hawks also kept 50% of McCabe’s $4 million salary cap held through 2025, using one of their three salary slots. The Leafs’ 2025 first-round pick is a protected top-10 pick and would slip into 2026 in that case.

This is the Hawks’ fourth trade already this month — they also acquired Nikita Zaitsev from the Senators, traded the AHL forward with the Ducks and sent Jack Johnson to the Avalanche — but it’s, by far, the biggest yet.

“As far as both [Jake and Sam] “They helped us out on the ice, they were even the best players off the ice, so it’s hard to see them go,” said Seth Jones. “We kind of knew this day was coming [for] the past year and a half. But it’s bad when it actually happens.”

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The Hawks stockpiled six first-round picks over the next three years and eight second-round picks over the next four years after making three first-round picks and two second-round picks last season.

These choices form the basis of Davidson’s long-term plan. He said the Leafs’ 2025 and 2026 selections were actually the Falcons’ preference.

“We don’t want to cram too many draft picks all in one place,” he said. “It’s good to have it publicized. It gives you an option to use it as currency elsewhere as well. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to make that choice.”

A functional first-round pick can be considered a McCabe return and a functional second-round pick a Laverty return. Davidson had originally shopped the two players separately but found the same suitor that would be perfect for both, and decided it would be “easier to make him a combination”.

Their departure also undermines the Hawks’ active roster – not a huge concern for the front office – but it comes at high points in their careers.

Maccabi have enjoyed a fantastic bounce-back season. His rating of over seven goals in a team with a goal difference of -62 was impressive. He also led the Hawks defense in a five goals-to-five ratio, having developed a strong chemistry with Jones on the first double.

He said recently, as trade rumors started swirling, that he’d like to stay in Chicago — his hometown — but would finally enjoy playing in the playoffs (for the first time in his eight-year career) if a deal happened. Jason Dickinson said Monday that McCabe told the team he was “excited about it”.

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Laverty’s season kicked off on New Year’s Eve. He’s scored 13 points in 23 games since then and has proven himself to be better defensively, prompting Hawks head coach Luke Richardson to start recently against him against the opponents’ first lines. His penalty acumen, as evidenced by his leading four shorthanded league goals, was another selling point.

He and McCabe built a Leafs team already buoyed by the acquisition of Ryan O’Reilly a few weeks ago. The Leafs have been drawn in by the fact that McCabe – who Leafs GM Kyle Dubas told reporters Monday had tried to sign him again in 2021 – and Lafferty remain on affordable contracts until next season.

The Leafs needed to clear contracts to make room, however, from the list of players they made available, they chose Davidson Anderson and Gogolev.

Anderson, 24, has bounced between levels in the past five seasons with the Devils and Leafs, leading high in the AHL but not so much in the NHL. The Hawks will try to open up more in him, unlike they did with Lafferty after acquiring him from the Penguins last season.

Gogolev, 23, has dominated the Premier League this season. Will report to Rockford.

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