Detroit Red Wings: It’s a Prove It Year for Robby Fabbri

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 11: Robby Fabbri #14 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on March 11, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - MARCH 11: Robby Fabbri #14 of the Detroit Red Wings skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Little Caesars Arena on March 11, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Robby Fabbri is on the last year of his contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Like a solid chunk of the roster, Fabbri’s future with the team is uncertain – will he still be a Red Wing when the team is contending? This season could very well answer that question.

Age: 25

Left Winger/Center

Third Season With the Red Wings

Stats Snapshot:

Goals: 10

Assists: 8

CF%: 50.8

Pts/60: 2.1

ixG: 5.91

GAR: 5.7

(Advanced Stats Courtesy of Evolving-Hockey)

Last Season With the Red Wings

Robby Fabbri was another top-six forward that missed a chunk of the season due to injury. An upper body injury ended the year early, as Fabbri was only able to play in 30 games.

However, Fabbri did look pretty solid in that stretch. He was one of the few members of the team with the ability to finish on scoring chances. He finished with a shooting percentage of 17.2. Fabbri’s 18 points were good for sixth on the team; there’s a good chance that he would’ve topped the team with a full season. The highlight of Fabbri’s season came against the Stars, where his natural hat trick (three consecutive goals) single-handedly powered Detroit to victory.

Best Case Scenario for This Season

Fabbri finishes in top three on the team in goals, finds chemistry with the newer members of the top-six (Filip Zadina and Jakub Vrana), rebounds from his upper body injury and proves that he’s a part of the Red Wings future. It’s a lot to ask, but Fabbri’s doubters have been silenced in his first two seasons with the Red Wings. In a best case situation, Fabbri continues the trend and solidifies his spot on Detroit’s top-six.

Worst Case Scenario

Fabbri finally hits a wall. Like I mentioned before, there have certainly been doubts about Fabbri’s abilities with the team; after struggling for so long in St. Louis, it was hard for some to believe his quick turnaround was anything but a flash-in-the-pan. Worst case, this season ends up being the end of the turnaround and Fabbri regresses. Being a contract year, regression would mean some major loss of money for Fabbri – or even a ticket out of Detroit.

The Prediction Part

While not blowing anyone’s socks off, Fabbri continues to be one of the team’s most consistent producers, especially in the goal scoring category. He finishes the year as one the team’s goal scorers, rebounding nicely from a ’20-’21 season cut short due to injury. He’s extended on a one or two year deal in the offseason, doing just enough to prove that he belongs on the Red Wings roster.

However, he doesn’t do quite enough to show he’s a member of the core. Fabbri’s 17.2 percent shooting is going to be hard replicate this season and that could mean a bit of a regression in points. Also, his ability to drive the offense was just about average last season, with a corsi percentage of 50.8 percent.

Possibility of Being a Trade Deadline Target: Possible

Other than Tyler Bertuzzi, Fabbri is probably the top-six winger most likely to be traded (although it’s still not very likely). It’s uncertain whether Steve Yzerman considers him a member of the core – he doesn’t quite have the raw talent of Zadina, Vrana or some of the prospects coming up. Also, he has yet to truly see a full season through with the Red Wings; he was traded to Detroit in his first season and last year injury cut his season short. If Fabbri struggles early, there’s a chance that Yzerman starts looking to flip an asset.

The Bottom Line

Essentially, this season is all about proving it for Fabbri. It’s a bit unfair, considering he’s already looked quite good in 82 total games with the Red Wings. But it’s an awkward time in the rebuild; now is the time where Yzerman decides who is a part of the contending roster and who is a part of the transition. Being a contract year, Fabbri will have to continue his hot streak with Detroit if he wants a good contract proposal from Yzerman.

This season could finally be Fabbri’s chance to show that he deserves a roster spot when the Red Wings are a playoff team. It’s a prove it year for him, but that hasn’t bothered him in the past.

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