This year is a big year for the Blues. GM Doug Armstrong and Chairman Tom Stillman have infused excitement and talent into a lineup that was one point away from the playoffs last year. Ryan O’Reilly, David Perron, Tyler Bozak, and Patrick Maroon have been added to the roster, and Blues fans haven’t been this excited and optimistic in recent years.
That being said, this is also a big season for some of the Blues who will be returning, each for their own reasons. In the next few weeks, I’ll go over 5 returning Blues who are going to be entering their make or break years for their career.
Robby Fabbri is a potential star. Even if half of the media can’t spell his name right.
— Frank Cusumano (@Frank_Cusumano) December 29, 2016
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) April 20, 2016
Robby’s Achilles’ heel has been just a little further north on his body. He has missed the Blues last 113 regular season games suffering from two ACL tears.
But when Robby Fabbri is on the ice…
(H/T to Hockey Central Youtube for the video)
Why is this a Make or Break year?
Fabbri is an incredible talent, he is creative with the puck, can make his own space and has a wicked shot that can beat any NHL goaltender. That doesn’t play well from the press box. He simply has to stay healthy to stay on a team this deep with potentially NHL ready prospects.
Fabbri is forecasted as the third or fourth LW on the roster now, and with Erik Foley, Mackenzie McEachern, and Joey Laleggia all progressing in the minors, the time is now for Fabbri to solidify his spot on this team. Fabbri is a fun winger, and no matter where they slot him, on a wing with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz, or beside a fresh-faced Robert Thomas, the Blues will be looking at Robby to provide depth scoring. Depth scoring has been a major problem for the team over the last few years.
Why it’s time to jump on the Fabbri Bandwagon
You have to go outside of the rink to find athletes that are attempting to do what Fabbri is doing. Coming back from one ACL tear can be too much for an athlete coming back from two is unheard of.
Athletes like Lindsey Vonn, Jabari Parker, and Thomas Davis have all recovered from multiple ACL tears, and they have all excelled in their return. But hockey is different and coming back is one thing, Fabbri has to produce.
In Fabbri’s first couple of years, he put up quality offensive numbers on lines that struggled to keep the puck out of their own net. Where he was his best, and where the Blues really need Fabbri is on the Powerplay.
Last year the Blues powerplay was pathetic. 2nd worst in the league, thanks Edmonton, and they couldn’t find a way to jump start it. Fabbri’s rookie year as he grew into more of a fixture in the Power Play scheme, he put in 6 PPG. He followed that up in his abbreviated 2016-2017 season with 5 goals through 50 games. Schenn led the team last year in PPG, with 8.
The Blues desperately need help on the Power Play and that is really where he can make the biggest difference.
What makes this season a success for Robby Fabbri?
Oh, I need to write more than that? Well, it depends on what the Blues want from him. Do they want him to play a top 6 role or do they want to limit his ice time?
The perfect linemate for Robby Fabbri? Robert Thomas. Robert Thomas is a pass first center with a speed. Fabbri and Thomas would give other teams 3rd pairings fits. Give them 10 minutes of ice time a night and see how fresh you can keep those two.
If the Blues want more from Fabbri, he can deliver in the top 6. Fabbri was a big performer for the Blues in the playoffs during the 2016 run. He knows how to play up to the occasion and for Fabbri, the real issue is just getting him there healthy.
My closing thoughts are pretty straightforward. Fabbri is the Blues X factor. If he is able to contribute in a positive way the Blues will no doubt be a much deeper team than they were a year ago. If he can’t produce? The Blues may need to cut ties and move on. That’s what makes this season so imperative for Robby Fabbri.