Hockey

Robby Fabbri Continuing to Make Steve Yzerman Look Like a Genius

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On November 6th, 2019, the Detroit Red Wings traded forward Jacob de la Rose to the St. Louis Blues for forward Robby Fabbri. The trade was one of the more lopsided one-for-one trades in recent history as Fabbri has been one of the Red Wings most consistent offensive players while de la Rose struggles to find ice time.

When the trade was made, there were questions about what Fabbri could be. At the time, the then 23-year-old was coming off the Blues Stanley Cup campaign where he had played just 32 games and had just six points. This was a season removed from having multiple surgeries on his left knee which caused him to miss the entire 2017-18 season. He had a promising rookie season where he had 37 points in 72 games, but there were questions about whether he would even reach that level again.

Robby Fabbri Fitting in With Detroit

When he arrived in Detroit, Robby Fabbri quickly made a positive impression. He had two goals in his first game wearing the winged wheel including what proved to be the game-winner in a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins. It was the start of what ended up being a very good season for the Canadian as he paired very well with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi. He ended the season with 31 points in 52 games in Hockeytown and showed potential to be even better in 2020-21.

And better he has been. His shot has been the most lethal on the team. He’s one of very few players on the Red Wings who can walk into the zone with the puck and you’re confident the puck will somehow ripple the twine. Despite missing nine games due to COVID protocol, he still leads the team with nine goals. He’s currently tied for third on the team in points with 15 with Anthony Mantha, who set up the first of Fabbri’s hat trick against the Dallas Stars last night. Fabbri’s shot on this goal was just another example of how well he is firing the puck right now.

Fabbri is on pace to have a career year. His .41 goals per game would be by far a career-high and would be on pace for a career-high in every offensive stat if he had a full season. He currently has a shooting % of 23.1% which is more than 7% higher than his career-best. He now has five goals in his last four games which has led to the Red Wings winning three of their last four, including games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes. He has very much been a positive difference-maker on the ice for the Red Wings.

Yzerman Makes Magic

Robby Fabbri has been the perfect example of the way general manager Steve Yzerman is trying to build this Red Wings team. He made a few small trades early on to try out some players he thought could do more than they were showing. Fabbri absolutely fits that mold as he is currently on his career-best pace. Meanwhile, the player that Yzerman traded for Fabbri, Jacob de la Rose, has played just 43 games in two seasons with St. Louis and has just five points. That’s a massive disparity in contribution from two players who are both 25 years old.

Fabbri is also getting more ice time than he ever got in St. Louis while de la Rose is averaging just around 10 minutes per game in a Blues uniform. It’s stunning to look at the two players and realize that these players were traded in a straight swap. However, that’s what people have come to expect from Steve Yzerman. He’s able to make moves that will work in his favor and the acquisition of Fabbri is a prime example of that.

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Riley McPherson is a 27-year-old writer from Southwest Michigan. She won 3 Student MAB awards while attending Grand Valley State University as both a radio broadcaster and sports anchor. She is a fan of Detroit sports, the University of Michigan and is a big Premier League and Aussie Rules football fanatic. She also hosts her own Michigan sports podcast called Great Lakes Sports Takes.