After getting swept by the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the playoffs, there are a lot of questions to answer regarding the future of the Nashville Predators. Most of the questions are centered around John Hynes and the team’s front office, but what about the players?
Filip Forsberg‘s status of course looms largest as free agency approaches, and there are some more minor free agents who are likely to walk. As for the trade market, selling like last year has not been talked about since the Predators have an abundance of cap space, but nobody is ever safe, and one player whose future could be in doubt is Dante Fabbro.
Fabbro’s time in Nashville has been complicated, to say the least. He is only 23 years old and has only three years of NHL experience under his belt, but when you look at his career, he has not done anything to show that he is someone the organization should be committed to.
When he started his first full season, in 2019-2020, he looked like a deer in the headlights, as he struggled to defend in his own zone and just looked lost many times. He improved throughout the course of that season and is certainly more competent now than he did when he first started.
But after that season, he has not really done much to improve. He still struggles to defend in his end from time to time, and he has no business containing the elite offensive threats in the league.
Offensively, he has looked near-invisible throughout his career. He only has 10 goals and 37 assists in 170 games across the three years in which he has been a full-time member of the Predators, and seldom joins the offensive attack.
Off the ice as well, Fabbro has been a bit of a mystery. He did not play a single game in the 2021 playoffs, which threw everyone off considering he played all previous games except for the ones when he was injured.
There was also a time during the last offseason in which he was rumored to potentially be on the trade block. He ended up signing a two-year contract later on, but honestly, it was not an outlandish thought to potentially deal him even then.
The Predators have a lot of defensemen on their roster, and guys like Roman Josi and Mattias Ekholm are sure to stay on the team for a while to come. David Farrance is not far out from being NHL ready, and it is hard to see where he is going to fit with the team assembled as it is. It would not be good for his development if he were a bottom-pairing defenseman.
Another big reason to ponder Fabbro’s future is because of Alexandre Carrier. Carrier has only played a year and a half of meaningful NHL hockey, but he has shown real progression, as his offensive and defensive game have made serious strides. Fabbro has not shown that improvement, and it is concerning considering that he was a first-round pick six years ago.
There is always a chance that he could play as a third-pairing defenseman, but is that something he is going to want to do? That is probably not good for anyone involved, and he is probably better off getting a fresh start elsewhere.
The Predators could either re-sign Matt Benning or go for someone else in free agency. Third-pairing defensemen are a dime a dozen in the NHL, so that is nothing that the team should worry about.
Fabbro is still young of course, but there is an overall feeling that time is running out for him to prove himself, at least in Nashville. We will see what the Predators decide to do with him.
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