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Abel to Yzerman

Projecting Robby Fabbri’s Season

from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,

In 51 games with the Wings before the NHL shut down March 12 because of COVID-19, Fabbri recorded 14 goals and 17 assists; his 31 points ranked third on the team in that time frame, behind only Dylan Larkin (41) and Tyler Bertuzzi (34). One area Fabbri needs to improve is his defense — he was a whopping minus-29. If he can make better decisions in that area, he will gain trust from the coaching staff.

Fabbri looks like he can be a 20-goal scorer as soon as 2020-21, especially if the Wings add a defenseman — possibly top 2019 pick Moritz Seider — other than Filip Hronek who is adept at getting the puck to the forwards. Given how well Larkin, Bertuzzi and Mantha play together, Fabbri is a good fit on the second line, possibly with Valtteri Filppula and Filip Zadina. That would give the Wings two scoring lines, something they rarely had this past season. Down the road, as the rebuild takes shape and more high-end players are added to the lineup, Fabbri could emerge as a 30-goal scorer.

He’s a restricted free agent this summer, coming off a $900,000 one-year contract, and certainly has earned a raise. A two-year deal seems to make sense, since Fabbri would still be restricted when it expires, and it’d give Fabbri the opportunity to make a case for a long-term deal at that point.


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The only way Fabbri could get close to 30 goals is if he’s playing 19+ minutes per night in key situations.

And if Fabbri is playing that much, that would be very bad news for the Red Wings. Because Fabbri is not nearly good enough to warrant that kind of usage. He has a good shot but he doesn’t drive play and he is very, very bad defensively.

On a historically bad team that was starved for offense, Fabbri had a golden opportunity and made the most of it. But on a good team I don’t think he’s more than a third-liner, albeit one you can insert into the top-6 / PP for short periods as needed to cover an injury. I think he has sort of an awkward skill set that’s hard for a well constructed team to use optimally, kind of like AA.

I think the best outcome would be to sign him for one or two more years, let him pad his offensive stats, and flip him at the deadline.

Posted by Sven22 from Grand Rapids on 07/28/20 at 11:05 AM ET


It is probably a stretch to think he can be a 30 goal scorer but let’s not pigeonhole him to be one dimensional just yet. He’s still young and has suffered two very significant injuries plus Covid that have slowed his overall development. Remember there were those who though Yzerman was one-dimensional at one point.

A two year contract would probably be ideal for both sides. By the time that is nearing completion the Wings will have an even better idea of what Fabbri can be.

Here’s hoping he exceeds everyone’s expectations!

Posted by evileye on 07/29/20 at 08:59 AM ET

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com