The latest opportunity for Robby Fabbri to display his value to the Detroit Red Wings was scuttled on Thursday. However, in this case, that was good news for the team.
Lucas Raymond is out of COVID-19 protocol and that means he’ll be able to take up his usual slot on the right wing of Detroit’s top forward line with captain Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi for Friday’s game against the Washington Capitals. Had Raymond not been good to go, Fabbri was the one who would’ve been going into his spot.
It would’ve marked the third time that Fabbri had been elevated to the top line. Previously, he’s filled in for Larkin (personal leave) and Bertuzzi (unvaccinated for COVID-19 and unable to play in Canada). That meant had the original plan come together, Fabbri would’ve found himself filling in for a third different player on the team’s top line.
“Fabbs feels comfortable playing all the positions,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “He’s played some center for us and feels comfortable there for us, and I’ve used him mid-game sometimes, even coming out of a penalty kill.
“Certainly when Larks wasn’t there I used him a little bit. He can play either wing. That’s certainly one of the things that makes him valuable.”
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 14, 2021
It’s that versatility which helped to encourage the Red Wings to get Fabbri, a pending UFA, signed to a contract extension earlier this month.
Fabbri Adding Value In Any Role
His normal spot is on the wing on the second line, lately with Pius Sutter at center and Vladislav Namestnikov on the other wing. However, over his career, Fabbri, 25, has proven capable of moving up and down the lineup. He can play in a scoring or playmaking role. At the same time, on a Stanley Cup winner in St. Louis, Fabbri was proving his usefulness to the club in a bottom-six role. His strong presence on the forecheck enables Fabbri to add worth to a role further down the forward unit.
“He plays with a lot of energy and has skill to go with that,” Larkin said. “He’s someone that I enjoy playing with. We played well together last year when we were both healthy. He’s someone that will find me and get me the puck and the same for Bert. He kinda does it all.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) December 10, 2021
“He’s a player that when he was in St. Louis he had to play down the lineup. With us he’s played up the lineup. He can really play anywhere.”
As his coach, Blashill appreciates the versatility that Fabbri can bring to his lineup. However, it isn’t the quality he most admires in the player.
“I think what makes Fabbs the most valuable is his competitiveness,” Blashill said. “He’s extremely competitive, so he can help any line that he moves on.”