The Free Press’s Helene St. James filed a notebook article regarding Red Wings forward Robby Fabbri’s signing of a 3-year, $12 million contract extension with Detroit last night:
“When he came in, we definitely needed help,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Our team struggled that year — we didn’t play very good hockey and so right away, I knew he could help that team. The question you ask yourself is, can the player help you win long term. For a player to help you win long-term, one, he’s got to be a winner of a person. He’s got to be committed to win above everything else, and Robby is that. Two, he’s got to be the type of player who can win when it gets tough and hard, and I think Robby can do that. Robby has shown us that not only is he a guy who helped us over the last couple years, but can also help us win as we try to move up the standings.”
There was talk last season of Fabbri playing more at center than wing, but that abated when Yzerman signed center Pius Suter last offseason. Fabbri and Suter — who seven years ago played together with the Guelph Storm — have formed a solid pairing this season: Both are smart, play bigger than their 5-foot-11, around 180-pound bodies, and have some grit to their games.
“I think him and Suits have been a pretty good pairing together,” Blashill said. “We’re just trying to figure out the best way for each line to be successful and figuring out what the best three-man combo is for that group is still important. They’ve created lots of chances over the course of the season. I didn’t think Robby got rewarded with the number of chances he created early and he’s been rewarded more lately. He can score, for sure.”
Fabbri, who turns 26 in January, fits into the early-to-mid 20s age group of the core rebuild group.
Blashill described him as a winning-type player who had the mental fortitude to not let his knee injuries soften his play for long: “When he got here, we had a conversation early about, you’re not going to be a really good player if you play careful. You have to have that great intensity in order to make up for maybe a lack of size and a lack of speed. He’s done that.”