NHL 2016 DRAFT RADAR: DANTE FABBRO

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Photo via BCHL

Dante Fabbro out of the BCHL currently sits behind five other North American defencemen in the draft rankings. He’s been steady at the 18th draft ranking position from Central Scouting for a while now. He’s committed to Boston University, a phenomenal program for developing future NHL talent (see Eichel/Hanifin most recently) and thus is seen as a bit of a project piece who could be a great addition to any team in a few seasons. Now, you may not have heard the name all that much seeing as he is off in the BCHL but the league is no cakewalk. It has in the past churned out names such as Brett Hull, Willie Mitchell and Carey Price, so although it may not be immediately familiar to most, it is no excuse to write the kid off. A reliable right-handed defenceman with vision and a bit of a scoring touch will certainly keep NHL teams interested in the young 6’ blue-liner and Detroit will be no exception there.

THE EYE TEST

Draft extraordinaire Craig Button’s praise of Fabbro captures a lot of what really makes the young prospects game so impressive:

“Dante Fabbro will never pull you out of your seat, but when you measure high-end efficiency in the game, he stands out. The Penticton Vees defender always makes the right play, is always in the right position and doesn’t break down under the challenges, which makes it very difficult to play versus him. I see so many similarities to Brent Seabrook of the Chicago Blackhawks. Like Seabrook, Fabbro’s contributions lead to winning.”

Most of the quotes you’re going to find about this kid hammer home the same points. While many of these prospects are riding exceptional numbers, Fabbro manages to play in a way that shows everyone he truly understands the game and can think it at a level likely to lead to success down the line. 

THE STATS

After more than doubling his offensive numbers last year from the season prior, he sits comfortably above a point-per-game pace since joining the BCHL two years ago. While scouts don’t see that type of production lasting at the higher levels, most of the praise comes from being able to put up those numbers without being a defensive liability. While we’ve seen him come to life with a partner like highly touted prospect Chychrun as a top pair for Team Canada at the World U18 tournament, it’s more likely that Fabbro will be depended on in the future to be the level-headed, stay-at-home guy. Chychrun playing shutdown allowed Fabbro to notch eight points in seven games and certainly gave scouts the look they were hoping for against stiffer competition.

DOES HE FIT IN WITH THE RED WINGS?

This is an interesting one because projections place him comfortably around where Detroit will be drafting. With The Wings picking at 16 but not again until 46, I can’t see them springing for Fabbro. There are a handful of forwards around that draft position with some real potential and while there may be a forward clog in Detroit right now, the core is aging and there’s an expansion draft coming. If they start needing forwards like Mantha and Bertuzzi to make that jump sooner than later, they’re going to need to replenish their AHL squad, especially with older key players like Tangradi and Miele carrying much of the workload currently. On top of that, Russo and Saarijarvi are just about to begin their tenures with the Griffins on that right side and while Fabbro may spend some time at Boston University, I still think Detroit will be looking to someone a little more ready to get into their own system as quickly as possible. While he’s a promising young prospect, Detroit can’t afford the luxury of time on someone likely to slot into a second-pairing role at this point with where the organization is at.

On the plus side though, at least the kid has taste, evident from this retweet from his personal account @17Fabbro: