Detroit — Robby Fabbri had to overcome consecutive knee injuries that kept him out of the NHL for almost two full years.
There were doubts Fabbri would ever return.
But Fabbri, acquired by the Red Wings in November, showed he still had the talent that made St. Louis draft him in the first round in 2014.
Fabbri, 24, was named the Red Wings’ nominee Tuesday for the Masterton Trophy by the Detroit chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
The Masterton Trophy is awarded annually to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport.
Fabbri suffered serious knee injuries to his left ACL that required surgery during consecutive seasons in 2017-18, which cost Fabbri 20 months of rehabilitation.
From February 2017 to October 2018 Fabbri didn’t play an NHL game, tearing his ACL in a regular season game in 2017 then re-injuring it in an exhibition game the following season, costing Fabbri his entire regular season.
So, considering the Red Wings are currently off the ice for potentially nine months between regular season games, this is nothing for Fabbri.
“I was off for quite a while,” said Fabbri, talking recently about his knee troubles. “It definitely prepared me for something like this. The mental and physical side of it. I’ve been through it twice and I know what my body needs to stay in shape and I know what my mind needs.
“It’s helped me out definitely. But saying that, I’m still excited about the chance to get back on the ice and get back in the gym and get back in the routine of summer training.”
Fabbri was acquired Nov. 6 by the Winga in exchange for forward Jacob de la Rose, in what many have called general manager Steve Yzerman’s shrewdest trade as the Wings’ general manager.
Having only played nine games in St. Louis to begin this season, Fabbri arrived with the Wings and had 14 goals and 17 assists in 52 games with the Wings, supplying the team established secondary scoring.
"I asked him when he came to us, 'Do you want to be a fine player or do you want to be a real good player?' He shows on a fairly consistent basis he wants to be a really good player," said coach Jeff Blashill after a late-season Red Wings victory.