The Detroit Red Wings fourth line: Klim Kostin-Joe Veleno-Robby Fabbri
This summer, Steve Yzerman made a trade with former Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, now of the Edmonton Oilers. Yzerman landed Kailer Yamamoto along with Klim Kostin for future considerations. The move freed up over $3 million in space for the Oilers and rewarded Detroit with Kostin’s signing rights. Yzerman elected to buy out Yamamoto, who quickly signed with the Seattle Kraken and extended Kostin. Kostin, 24, signed a two-year deal worth $ 4 million. The Russian-born winger is a solid 6-foot-3 and brings some size and grit to Detroit’s lineup, plus he possesses some offensive abilities. Kostin is coming off an 11-goal, 21-point season with Edmonton.
When you add Kostin to a line with a speedy center like Joe Veleno, and the crafty Robby Fabbri, this has the makings to be more of a third line than a fourth group. Fabbri’s kryptonite is remaining healthy. Fabbri was limited to just 28 games last season after re-joining the team in early January after recovering from a third serious knee injury that required surgery last spring. Fabbri was also shut down early due to precautionary measures after hurting his knee, but thankfully the injury proved not severe. Fabbri, 27, recorded seven goals and 16 points last season but scored 17 the year before over 56 games for the Detroit Red Wings. If Fabbri can remain healthy, he brings a Pius Suter-like option to Detroit’s lineup with his ability to play up and down the lineup, down the middle or on the wing. For now, I predict he’ll begin on the fourth line.
This upcoming season is sort of a sink-or-swim season for Veleno, a former first-round selection of the Detroit Red Wings. Veleno, 23, is a tremendous skater and has shown flashes of offensive excellence but hasn’t been able to be a consistent contributor. Veleno recorded a career-high nine goals and 20 points last season over 81 games. If Veleno is going to grow into more than a bottom-six forward, we need to see him take some strides this season, perhaps scoring 15 goals and surpassing the 30-point mark.