Retaining Dante Fabbro for Another Year is a Brilliant Move for Nashville Predators

After some of the trade dust settled for the Predators, they kept one of their own by re-signing Dante Fabbro.
Dec 10, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) looks on
Dec 10, 2023; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Nashville Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro (57) looks on / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports
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Almost to the exact day a year apart from each other, Dante Fabbro is getting another one-year deal from the Nashville Predators while in the midst of his fifth full-time season in the NHL.

Fabbro is getting an identical contract from what he got in March of 2023 from David Poile, a $2.5 million bargain that now first-year General Manager Barry Trotz has pulled off.

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There were so many questions heading into trade deadline day for the Predators' defensive corps, not a single defenseman was traded. Fabbro was due to be a restricted free agent this upcoming offseason, but has delivered positive results in his role of playing alongside Roman Josi on Nashville's top defensive pairing.

Trotz Retains Fabbro for Very Little Risk Involved

Here is the main reason why this is a brilliant move by Trotz to ink this contract extension for Fabbro; it's low risk and in the meantime doesn't screw with the chemistry that your team has built in this playoff push that's currently on a stretch of winning nine of their last 10 games.

Fabbro and Josi have played the most minutes together among Nashville's defensive pairings this season, with Alexandre Carrier and Jeremy Lauzon close behind. Playing 570 minutes together, Fabbro and Josi have built important chemistry for the remaining playoff push and beyond.

At just $2.5 million, that's an extremely team-friendly deal. And at one year, how can you not like this for the Predators front office? Fabbro has respect as a defense first defenseman who is smart in defending his own zone and providing consistency.

Looking at Fabbro's possession metrics and analytics this season, he has really stuck around his career averages. He hasn't regressed by any means, with his most noticeable improvement coming in the defensive zone.

Now what Fabbro provides in stability, he lacks in offensive firepower. There's always been a hope that Fabbro can eventually show more flare on the offensive side of things, but his shooting percentage is at a 3.4 percent this season.

It is also important to note that Fabbro has only played in 51 games this season after playing in 79 last season. The Predators have just 18 game remaining on the season, and barring any injury to Fabbro, he should finish with 69 games played which would be the second-most of his NHL career.

Among the Predators defensive pairings who have played extensive amounts of time together this season, the Fabbro/Josi pairing has been most effective on both offense and defense in terms of Expected Goals Per 60, according to MoneyPuck.

By re-signing Fabbro to another one-year deal, you're just buying yourself time at a low cost and virtually zero risk. Worst case scenario is Fabbro is trade bait again at the 2025 trade deadline with him becoming an unrestricted free agent when it expires in 2025. For now at least, he is of high value to keep him around as Josi's linemate.

Fabbro will turn 26-years-old over the offseason, so his window is still wide open to elevate his game and hit his peak. There's no reason to think Fabbro can't gradually improve his offensive contributions, while continuing to be that steady force on the blueline.

The Predators have their defensive corps set for the playoff push without having to mess with any chemistry that has been built over the recent weeks. Although Carrier was the bigger trade piece expected to be moved, he is sticking around to keeping playing alongside Lauzon.

Ryan McDonagh and Luke Schenn have also provided steady defensive play on the second pairing, which has left Tyson Barrie as the seventh defenseman and healthy scratch unless something unforeseen happens.

I give Trotz a perfect grade of A+ for this contract extension because there's virtually no risk and at worst, Fabbro becomes trade bait again in the next year. The upside is he keeps improving at age 26 and you invest more in him long-term when the time is right.

Grade. A+. 1 Year, $2.5M. UFA in 2025. Dante Fabbro

Fabbro gets another year to prove himself, and Trotz has the comfort of knowing he hasn't disrupted what's working now while not tying any long-term risk into Fabbro. Brilliance from the first-year General Manager.

Trotz illustrated clearly with his trade deadline strategy that he owes it to this locker room that has battled through adversity all season to keep the band mostly together, aside from Yakov Trenin, and see what comes of it.

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