The Predators desperately need the young Dante Fabbro to take a big step forward next season. Their defense has become top-heavy with Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis on the top pairing, but there’s a lot of uncertainty after that.
Even more so, there’s growing speculation that Mattias Ekholm could conceivably only have one more year left in Nashville before being exposed in the next expansion draft for the Seattle Kraken.
Fabbro has shown promise. He does a lot of the little things well like being in the right spot defensively to make plays and get the puck back on the attack. Now we need to see more offensive growth from him in 2021.
If the Predators are going to take a step forwards next season, and not another step in reverse, Fabbro is a key player that has to keep improving. If he breaks out suddenly into an offensive contributor and continues to round out his defensive game, then the Predators will have a solid top-two defensive pairings and something to work with.
I’m encouraged that Fabbro will gradually keep growing into a viable second line defenseman, but I’d rather see the Predators make a move in free agency to get Fabbro on the third pairing.
We’ll see what happens in what figures to be a wild Fall free agency period.