Here we are, moving towards the second week of training camp, and former Panthers defenseman Bryan McCabe is still not with a team. Our old friend has been thrashed around the rumor sites, as possible landing places like Washington and Long Island have at some point expressed some sort of interest. However, no contract has been signed, and we wonder how much longer McCabe will remain a free agent.
Of course, the biggest argument against him is his age. At 36 years old, his performance is bound to decline. Still, he has been a solid NHL defenseman his entire career. He has good defensive skills that match his offensive prowess and hard shot. He has experience playing in tough hockey towns like Chicago, Vancouver, Toronto, and New York. There are reasons to buy into McCabe, but no franchise has made that decision. Heck, Roman Hamrlik got a contract in Washington, and he is 37.
Once upon a time, at the beginning of free agency, some analysts were so high on McCabe that they viewed him as the number three unrestricted free agent defenseman, behind James Wisniewski and Christian Ehrhoff. New York let him go because of their manic chase to make cap for Brad Richards, and no team has bitten the bait since. There have been rumors, but no signings for McCabe.
Months have gone by. Even the Islanders, who are woefully thin on the blue line and haven’t yet reached the cap floor, pass on McCabe. We wonder if he was black-balled in the NHL, he is secretly planning on retiring, he’s got an injury, or he wants to go to Europe. Whatever the case is, McCabe is short on time if he wants to find a team and take a prominent role. Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that McCabe was looked at an emerging stud defenseman with a C on his shoulder who would finally lead his team to the promised land of the playoffs (ahem, we’re the team). Now those days are long gone, and Bryan is still in the unemployed line.
Is it right? I don’t know, but I find myself expecting to see a retirement press conference for him instead of a signing ceremony.
So what do you think, Panther fans? Will a team finally give McCabe a call?