Heading into his first full NHL season, Dante Fabbro has a huge void to fill, as the Nashville Predators shipped off P.K. Subban to New Jersey because of how much they liked his play in his 10 NHL games so far, but he can most definitely live up to the hype.
Fabbro burst onto the scene when he arrived in Nashville after his college season with Boston University came to an end, absolutely stunning Nashville Predators fans with his spectacular defensive play.
He looked like he had been playing the NHL for years, as he was always able to make the right plays and make big stops in the defensive zone, which garnered praise throughout the organization.
He was arguably one of the top three best players from the team’s six-game first round loss to the Dallas Stars as well, as he continued the defensive prowess he had from the last four games of the regular season.
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Fabbro was doing all of this on the Nashville Predators third pairing last season, paired up with Dan Hamhuis a majority of the time, so we will finally see what Fabbro can do paired with a solid defenseman like Ryan Ellis and during a full 82 game season.
During the offseason, Fabbro played in the IIHF World Championship tournament for Team Canada and he kept up his production against the league’s best, as he was arguably the team’s best defensive defenseman in those nine games and added three points of his own during that tournament.
If we take a look at his first 19 games playing against NHL talent (regular season, playoffs and the IIHF tournament) Fabbro has amassed two goals, three assists and five points with a +11 plus/minus, which definitely isn’t bad for a defenseman who had to quickly translate his play from college right after his season ended.
This year, Fabbro will be able to be on the NHL roster from the jump, which will help him find consistency offensively as well as continue the success that he has had in the defensive zone.
With a full 82 game season under his belt, Fabbro could solidify himself as an absolute cornerstone to the Nashville Predators defensive core, making up for the loss of P.K. Subban.
I could also see Fabbro contending for the Calder Trophy this season, as he is still eligible to win the rookie of the year award after the four regular season games he played at the end of the 2018-19 season.
As far as statistics go during his rookie season, I could see Fabbro posting up 10 goals and 20 assists for 30 points in his first full 82 games in the NHL, continuing to showcase his stunning defensive ability to the Nashville Predators fan base.
This season will be a stepping stone in Fabbro’s career to become one of the NHL’s best defenseman, as a solid rookie season is on the horizon for the 21 year old defenseman.