Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Dante Fabbro Mystery

Dante Fabbro #57 of the Nashville Predators takes a shot against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period at Mullett Arena on March 09, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images)
Dante Fabbro #57 of the Nashville Predators takes a shot against the Arizona Coyotes during the third period at Mullett Arena on March 09, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Getty Images) /

One of the players that faced some of the most scrutiny by Nashville Predators fans this year is Dante Fabbro. A player that enters 2023-24 with a huge cloud of mystery hanging overhead.

After having a relatively slow year in regards to scoring, Fabbro’s usefulness to the team was a large topic of discussion when veteran players started becoming plagued by injuries and getting traded away.

Although we didn’t see what we necessarily wanted, Fabbro was one of the players who played the second-most games on the team with 79 games played, only behind Colton Sissons. Durability was a positive.

Fabbro will be a restricted free agent at the 2024 offseason, so coaching and management staff will be particularly observant of his individual performance.

Let’s take a look into Fabbro’s controversial season, and what we need to see from him as he competes in Nashville Predators training camp with a lot to prove.

2022-23 Season Review for Fabbro

After playing his first game with the Nashville Predators on March 30, 2019, Fabbro is now entering his fifth full season.

Last season Fabbro scored 11 points in 79 games, which is his career low of 0.14 points per game. A drop-off of 13 points, making this year a significant decline in terms of point production.

Fabbro also had the lowest shooting percentage on the team with only two percent clip, and was the second-lowest in 2021-22 with 3.4 percent.

Additionally, Fabbro had the third-most penalty minutes on the team this season with 50. This is also the highest number of penalty minutes that he has ever had in his career and will need to be improved upon as he battles for starts in a crowded defenseman room.

Even though it wasn’t necessarily his best season, Fabbro’s durability was definitely something that the Predators needed at the end of the season when all of their veteran players were getting injured. It was his fourth full season on the team, which doesn’t seem like a long period of time in the hockey world, but with the team that was playing in the spring, his knowledge of how things were run definitely helped some of the younger players adjust to life in the NHL.

It’s also important to note that Fabbro leans more on his defensive game over his offensive game, as is illustrated here back when Pekka Rinne was still between the pipes for Nashville:

Season Outlook for 2023-24

Look for a dramatic turnaround from the 25-year-old defenseman. Although Fabbro’s role is more on the defensive side, I would like him to shoot the puck more often, as he does have an extremely accurate shot if he gets the chance.

In an interview with team reporter Emma Lingan, Fabbro talked about his 2022-23 showing and building off how it ended:

"“Obviously, last year didn’t go the way I wanted it to. I struggled a little bit for the first half of the year, but I was able to find my way kind of towards the end. So I want to build off how I finished, and I’ll try to take another step this year, too, to produce a little bit more offense and be a little more involved in play.”"

It is good news that Fabbro is aware that changes need to be made, so his game will most likely drastically improve come the start of this season. He put in a lot of work during the offseason, so we can expect his transitions and playmaking to be cleaned come the end of training camp.

Fabbro wants to create more offense for the team, and with the speed that Head Coach Andrew Brunette is asking for, we can expect these exact areas of his game to improve drastically.

It’s unclear just where Fabbro will fit into the defensive pairings, from Roman Josi to Jeremy Lauzon, it’s all up for training camp competition and coaches evaluating the best way to open 2023-24 at Tampa Bay.

Predators Defensive Dilemma-Jeremy Lauzon or Dante Fabbro?. light. Related Story

Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses

The biggest strengths from Fabbro are his durability and decision making in the defensive zone. He is able to create space for his teammates and make smart decisions to limit offensive chances for the other team. He is also extremely smart under pressure and is able to make the correct decisions when others around him might not.

Fabbro also has an extremely fast shot, and although we didn’t get to see too much of it during the 2022-23 season, if he does use it more this year it will be a vital asset to the scoring chances that the Predators need to show considerable improvement on.

There has to be improvement in Fabbro’s offensive game and his playmaking to create scoring opportunities to keep him in the lineup consistently. He spent too much time in the penalty box and gave up too many scoring chances under pressure, so we will be looking for him to find his game and confidence.

Overall, this year is going to be extremely important for Fabbro, and fans will be looking forward to seeing what he can bring to the team during the 2023-24 season. Otherwise, he could be trade bait or not re-signed in 2024.