The Detroit Red Wings traded for former St. Louis Blues forward Robby Fabbri on Nov. 6. Fabbri had been struggling to find a place in the lineup with the Stanley Cup champions. He was a healthy scratch against the Edmonton Oilers and was sitting in the press box when he was informed of the deal.
Fabbri suited up for the Red Wings on Nov. 8 against the Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins and he didn’t disappoint. The former first-round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft scored twice on the power play as Detroit shocked Boston. Detroit had lost 12 of its last 13 games before Fabbri’s debut with the club.
The Red Wings picked up their second straight win over a playoff team as they beat the Vegas Golden Knights, 3-2, on Sunday. Fabbri netted the primary assist on Anthony Mantha’s game-winning goal. The 23-year-old seems to be making the most of his chance with his new club so far.
Robby Fabbri Seizing Opportunity
Fabbri has always been a player with a lot of potential thanks to his speed and offensive ability. However, he was languishing in the Blues’ bottom-six forward group. St. Louis does have exciting forwards like Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn on the team. Head coach Craig Berube has something different in mind for the Blues third and fourth lines.
The Blues last two lines often play a plodding style that use their physical play to lean on teams and wear opponents down. Fabbri didn’t mesh with that style of play and ended up seeing limited ice time when he was scratched. The Mississauga, Onatrio native averaged only 9:42 when he wasn’t a healthy scratch.
Tarasenko’s injury could have opened a spot for Fabbri, but he didn’t crack the lineup. Fabbri was hoping for sustained playing time when he signed a one-year, $900,000 deal. However, his agent told Blues’ general manager Doug Armstrong to get his client a fresh start if Fabbri wasn’t going to play.
Armstrong kept his promise and made the deal for Jacob de La Rose, who would fit better on the bottom six. Despite trading Fabbri, Armstrong wished him well and hopes it’s a case like what Daniel Briere did when he found his game after getting traded.
— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) November 11, 2019
Reunited and it Feels So Good
Fabbri immediately stepped into the Red Wings’ power play unit and found chemistry with a pair of old friends. He gelled quickly with former Guelph Storm teammate Tyler Bertuzzi and Dylan Larkin, who Fabbri got to know during the 2014 draft process. Bertuzzi and Fabbri were even linemates during their time in the OHL and that knowledge of each other showed.
Detroit is currently last in the league in shooting percentage and its new acquisition is trying to regain confidence after a pair of knee surgeries set him back.
“This is what I want to get back to,” Fabbri said to Ansar Khan of MLive.com.
Fabbri was on the second line with Valtteri Filppula and Andreas Athanasiou during five-on-five situations and got to play with Bertuzzi, Larkin and Mantha on the extra-man unit. Playing with such solid forwards allows for him to get the scoring chances he’s been lacking in St. Louis.
Red Wings’ general manager Steve Yzerman has been tinkering with the lineup this season and picked up another underused forward in Brendan Perlini from the Chicago Blackhawks. Perlini has yet to score in six games with Detroit. However, it shows that Yzerman is willing to take a chance on a forward that has potential.
What it Means for the Future
Fabbri wants to prove that he deserves a big contract and top-six minutes. Detroit will have plenty of bad deals come off the books in the next couple of seasons and that could work into the young forward’s favour.
The Red Wings have found an offensive spark with Fabbri’s acquisition from the Blues. Hopefully the team will be able sustain that in order to climb its way out of the Atlantic Division basement. Detroit fans want some proof that the long, painful rebuild is bearing some rewards. Maybe Fabbri can be the first of many steps in a long journey.
BOSTON, MA – OCTOBER 26: St. Louis Blues left wing Robby Fabbri (15) skates in warm up before a game between the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues on October 26, 2019, at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)