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Can Red Wings F Robby Fabbri Take Another Step Forward During Year 2?

While this past season proved to be very disappointing on many different levels in Motown, the results weren’t entirely terrible for the Detroit Red Wings, as forward Robby Fabbri enjoyed one of the best statistical performances of his young career during his inaugural season in Michigan.

Despite starting the 2019-20 campaign with the St. Louis Blues, Fabbri was acquired by the Red Wings in exchange for center Jacob de la Rose shortly after the regular season opened. Finding a way to make an instant impact, the former first-round pick made a strong first impression by scoring two goals and four points in his first three games with his new team.

Overall, the 24-year old played in 52 games this past season and averaged a career-high 17:16 minutes of ice time, producing 14 goals, 31 points, 0.27 goals per game, 0.60 points per game, 0.23 goals created per game, 104 shots on net, 63 hits, 13 blocks, 12 takeaways, along with a 39.4% faceoff percentage.

Though he struggled to find success in the faceoff circle, recording the lowest faceoff percentage on the Red Wings, Fabbri was still able to make a strong offensive contribution and has quickly become an integral part of this team’s young core. As a result, the 5-foot-10 forward finished near the top of the club’s leaderboard in several different categories by the time of the league’s shutdown, which unfortunately ended his impressive showing prematurely.

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Among all forwards who played at least 30 games with Detroit this past season, the left-hander finished tied for the most powerplay goals (six), the second-most powerplay points (nine), and created the fourth-most goals, points, points per game, and average ice time, the fifth-most shots on net, the sixth-most hits, the seventh-most takeaways, and he finished tied for the eighth-most takeaways per 60 minutes (0.8), according to NHL.com.

Considering Fabbri spent the last three seasons rehabbing from a nagging knee injury, which played a huge factor in his departure from St. Louis, the youngster’s ability to bounce back and perform effectively during his fifth season in the league was extremely encouraging and he was rightly rewarded with a two-year, $5.9 million extension over the summer.

Since this offseason has brought new challenges due to the pandemic, preparing for his second season in red and white could prove to be very difficult for the Mississauga native. That being said, this extended time off has likely allowed the 2019 Stanley Cup champion to continue developing his craft, which could potentially help him increase his production level next season.

With the 2020-21 campaign likely to begin in January, there’s a very good chance there won’t be enough time to play all 82 games but that could actually benefit the former Guelph Storm standout, as he hasn’t played more than 61 games since his rookie season (2015-16). Based on his lengthy injury history, a shortened season would likely help him stay on the ice, especially since he’s been able to work on his conditioning over the past several months.

Entering his second season with Detroit, there’s also a chance Fabbri could be asked to assume a larger role, as he’ll likely receive an opportunity to compete for the second-line center role, although, his undersized frame is probably better suited on the left side of the rink. But considering he’ll likely be paired with teammates Vladislav Namestnikov and Filip Zadina, the sixth-year pro shouldn’t have any issues increasing his offensive production in five-on-five action along with his results on the team’s powerplay unit as well.

Even though the Red Wings aren’t expected to make the playoffs next season, there’s no question the overall product on the ice should be much better compared to their performance during the 2019-20 campaign. Hoping to witness progress from each member of their core, the club’s rebuilding process will take a massive step forward if their top young skaters can display at least respective growth in what’s supposed to be another losing season at Little Caesars Arena.

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