Red Wings: Robby Fabbri’s return will feel like a mid-season acquisition

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Injured Detroit Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri is ramping up his on-ice workouts as his return to the lineup inches closer.

Fabbri suffered an ACL injury that required surgery late last season. Unfortunately, this type of injury is nothing new to the talented Red Wings forward, who suffered two torn ACL injuries in the past during his time with the St. Louis Blues. The 26-year-old is expected to return to the lineup nearly the same time as Tyler Bertuzzi and potentially Filip Zadina.

Ansar Khan of MLive, roughly a month ago, reported that Fabbri had been eying a return date around Jan. 1. The Associated Press reports that Fabbri endured an extensive on-ice workout following Tuesday’s morning skate earlier this week as he continues to ramp up towards a return to Detroit’s lineup sometime in January.

Fabbri recorded 17 goals and 13 assists over 56 games with the Detroit Red Wings last season. Over his six-year career, Fabbri has amassed 73 goals and 152 points over 302 games between the Red Wings and Blues.

During his three years with Detroit, Fabbri has spent time playing both as a center and, more primarily, as a winger. The versatility is something any coach can appreciate; the same can be said for Pius Suter, who has been playing up and down Detroit’s lineup, most recently playing as a top-six forward. Suter has been flanking Michael Rasmussen on the second line with the injury to Bertuzzi. It’s a good problem, but Detroit Red Wings general manager (GM) Steve Yzerman and head coach Derek Lalonde will have a few decisions to make if/once the roster is fully healthy.

Detroit Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri is ramping up on-ice workouts as a return to the lineup inches closer.

The Detroit Red Wings will have decisions to make come January regarding their roster. In addition to the injuries previously mentioned, the Red Wings have been without rookie Elmer Soderblom. Soderblom got off to a good start early on but promptly cooled off. Soderblom is expected to head to Grand Rapids soon for a conditioning stint but may stay down with the Griffins longer than that. The rookie forward does not need to clear waivers to be sent down and may benefit greatly by remaining in the American Hockey League (AHL) to work on some defensive attributes.

When you take into account the three injured forwards (Fabbri, Zadina, Bertuzzi), Austin Czarnik is currently doing a fine job filling in on Detroit’s fourth line with Joe Veleno and rookie Jonatan Berggren. Czarnik is an obvious choice to send back to Grand Rapids, freeing up one spot for Bertuzzi. That leaves questions surrounding players such as Adam Erne, Jonatan Berggren, Pius Suter, Fabbri, and Filip Zadina.

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Berggren appears to be in Detroit for the long haul. The 22-year-old winger has proven he belongs. He’s looked wise beyond his years on the ice, displaying above-average vision and playmaking abilities, plus he has a habit of finding the back of the net. The Detroit Red Wings will want to get Fabbri into the lineup once he’s healthy, leaving one spot for Suter, Erne, or Zadina.

All three forwards will likely remain rostered, with two becoming healthy scratches. Don’t be surprised to see all three rotating in and out of the lineup as Lalonde tries to find the perfect combination, especially if the Red Wings remain in the playoff hunt.