The Nashville Predators will soon be getting some much needed defensive help on their blueline.
Earlier today, Dante Fabbro, defenseman for Boston University, announced on his Instagram that he would be forgoing his senior season. He intends to sign his entry level contract with the Preds.
Dante Fabbro has decided forego his senior season with Boston University and sign an entry-level contract with #preds. Big news for Nashville as their 2016 first-rounder could have become a UFA in August 2020 if he played another year at BU.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) March 25, 2019
Their 2nd ranked prospect, Nashville drafted Fabbro with the 17th pick in the 2016 draft. He was already committed to Boston University at the time of the draft, but the Predators liked Fabbro enough to take the risk in drafting another college bound player.
Remember that at the time, the Preds had just been spurned by former 2014 draft pick Jimmy Vesey. David Poile seemed convinced in the spring of 2016 that Vesey would sign, but then when his college season concluded, Vesey announced he would not be signing with Nashville.
There were worries by some that Fabbro would do the same thing to Nashville. But I think these were more recency bias than anything. There was never anything from Fabbro himself to suggest he would not uphold his end of the bargain.
What Preds fans can expect
Fabbro is a defenseman with great skating ability and excellent vision. Some have compared him to Boston’s Charlie McAvoy. A glimpse at some highlights seem to suggest that’s an apt comparison.
At 6’0″ and 190 pounds, he sizes up similarly to most of the Preds’ blueline. Speed and puck-moving appear to be one of the strengths of his collegiate game. Keep in mind that NHL speed and NCAA speed are vastly differently, but that bodes well.
As captain of the Terriers, he led the blueline with 33 points in 38 games, tallying a team high 26 assists. Though his team struggled defensively, Fabbro was more the exception than the rule. He faced top competition all night as the team’s top defenseman and held his own in that regard. He also had five power play goals, which tied for a team high.
It would appear that as soon as Fabbro officially signs with Nashville, he would become a leading candidate to replace Matt Irwin on the third pairing. We still don’t know the extent of Dan Hamhuis’ injury, though has has been skating recently. Either way, Fabbro is a better skater than Irwin, who has been struggling all season. Fabbro could take over in that spot until Hamhuis is cleared to return.
It’s tough to predict what Fabbro can really add this time of year, since he would have to get up to NHL speed quite quickly. With only six games left in the season, he doesn’t have much time. It would probably be unrealistic to expect Fabbro to be a regular playoff contributor this early into his NHL development.
Still, you never know. Back in 2006, a young defenseman named Shea Weber made his NHL debut midway through the regular season and then played four games in the playoffs. Even scored a couple goals.
I’m definitely not saying Dante Fabbro is Shea Weber (though Fabbro said on draft day that he “looks up to” Weber and he’s an admitted Preds fan) but if Fabbro gets his NHL legs quickly, he could definitely get a look in the playoffs.
— Featured image via Timothy T. Ludwig/USA TODAY Sports —