First Pairing: Roman Josi – Dante Fabbro
There is hardly time needed to spend analyzing why Roman Josi should be on the first pairing. He is the best player on the Predators and one of the best defensemen in the league, so of course he will remain where he is and has always been.
Pretty much everything after Josi is a question mark, although as far as this pairing goes, it should not be much of one. Simply put, Fabbro this season is playing the most complete and disciplined hockey of his six-year NHL career.
In the past few seasons, we have heard nonstop about how Fabbro had not lived up to expectations, and could be prime trade bait on a team that is making many changes. Probably the biggest criticism of Fabbro over the years has been his lapses, and how all of his turnovers and misplays would be super critical and end up as goals against.
This year, the costly gaffes have not happened very much, if at all. Fabbro has been an extremely steady defensive presence, effectively neutralizing opposing offense and even making some plays that jump out as impressive efforts to keep the puck out of the net.
In one of the most exciting finishes to a hockey game you'll ever see, the Nashville Predators shocked the Colorado Avalanche in the final 60 seconds.
Offense has not been his strong-suit since he has been on the Predators, but he has been far from a slouch in that regard this year. He already has two goals and three assists on the year, and crazily enough, his five points are just six fewer than he had in 79 games last year.
What is crazy that people forget that he was paired with Josi and his historic 96 points in 2021-22, and this year Fabbro is proving that he just might have had something to do with it. He is a very solid player and maybe more, and he has absolutely earned his spot on the top pairing until he gives Brunette a reason to take it away from him.
Instead of speculating about trade scenarios, it might be more appropriate to talk about a potential multi-year extension for the 25-year-old defensemen. Call it Fabbro being a late bloomer, or whatever you will, but he is finally starting to put it all together and deserves a major role on the Predators.