Detroit Red Wings find value in Robby Fabbri. Here's what he's worth

Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Hockey

The trade for Robby Fabbri paid off for the Detroit Red Wings right away, leading them to their first (and only) three-game winning streak of the season.

Now it's on general manager Steve Yzerman to settle on Fabbri's value to the team's future.

Fabbri turned a pair of major knee injuries into a career revival -- and recognition. Cast aside by the St. Louis Blues, he was enduring life as a healthy scratch when Yzerman took a no-risk gamble on Fabbri, trading for him Nov. 6.

By the time the NHL paused the 2019-20 season March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic, Fabbri had 14 goals and 17 assists; his 31 points ranked third on the team.

Fabbri's contributions earned him the 2020 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy nomination from the Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Each chapter submits a nominee.

The trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player "who best exemplifies qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." Since it was first awarded in 1968, two Wings have been recipients: Brad Park in 1984, and Yzerman in 2003.

Fabbri, 24, came to Detroit with a history of injuries that sidetracked the former first-round pick after a promising debut that saw him score 18 goals among 37 points in 2015-16.

When he joined the Wings, they had lost 11 of their previous 13 games. He scored two power-play goals to lead them past the Boston Bruins, 4-2, on Nov. 8. He registered an assist in the next game, a 3-2 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights; another assist in the 4-3 victory at Anaheim on Nov. 12; and two assists in a 4-3 shootout loss Nov. 16 at San Jose.


He didn't shy away from physical contact, either -- all the more encouraging given his past. Fabbri tore his left ACL in February 2017 and reinjured that knee during training camp that fall, causing him to miss all of 2017-2018.

A separated shoulder sidelined him for 11 games in 2018-19. He was limited to spot duty when he returned, squeezed out on a Blues team that would go on to win the Stanley Cup.

All Fabbri cost the Red Wings in the trade was grinder Jacob de la Rose, a waiver-wire pickup from 2018-19. Fabbri was on a one-year contract worth $900,000.

He was one of the Wings' few scoring threats, though he also struggled defensively, racking up a minus-29 rating. A two-year deal would still make him a restricted free agent when it's up, and he's likely to get somewhere in the $3 million annually range.

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