With new deal, Robby Fabbri happy to stick with Red Wings: 'I want to be part of it'
Detroit — From the sound of it, Robby Fabbri didn't really want to go anywhere else.
The Red Wings are his team, now, and there was no desire to see if anything else was out there after this season.
So Fabbri was excited to sign the three-year extension worth $12 million ($4 million salary cap hit) Monday night that'll keep Fabbri in an organization he cares about.
"Definitely that was the plan going into this season," Fabbri said after Tuesday's morning skate, of trying to remain in Detroit. "Ever since I came here, really. It's such a great group we have in there. It's improving every year, and it's been fun to be part of and I want to be part of it."
Fabbri was in the last year of a two-year contract worth $5.9 million ($2.95 cap hit) and could have been an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Fabbri was acquired from the St. Louis Blues in November 2019 for forward Jacob de la Rose in a trade that's safe to say was won by the Wings. Fabbri has become a part of the core the Wings want to keep moving forward, while de la Rose lasted 47 games over two seasons in St. Louis and is currently in the Swedish Elite League.
Fabbri is the lone Red Wings player signed into the 2024-25 season, the last season of his three-year contract.
In 28 games this season, Fabbri has eight goals and six assists while playing on either scoring line, and filling in for Dylan Larkin as the first-line center when Larkin has been unavailable.
"When he came in here we definitely needed help, our team struggled that year and we didn't play good hockey, and right away I knew he could help that team," coach Jeff Blashill said. "The question you ask is can a player help your team long-term? A player has to be a winner of a person and committed to winning above all else, and Robby is that.
"Robby has shown us to be a player who has helped us over the last couple of years, but also who can help us as we try to move up the standings. Management felt, and I certainly feel, he's a winning-type of player and person.
"From the start of training camp this season, he's done an excellent job of really competing on a day-to-day basis."
In St. Louis, despite being a first-round pick in 2014 and being part of the 2019 Stanley Cup champion, Fabbri saw his playing time dwindle and his spot on the depth chart insecure after two major knee surgeries.
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Coming to the Wings was an opportunity to spark his career.
"I was excited, a fresh start over here," Fabbri said of his reaction to the trade, and immediate impact (he scored two power-play goals his first game). "There were some familiar faces (Fabbri was a junior teammate of Tyler Bertuzzi) and it was exciting. Things got off to a good start, and it's been great ever since.
"Basically I was just trying to get my career on track and playing to the level I know I can play at."
The progress the Wings have shown this season, along with the growing excitement around Little Caesars Arena fans, excites Fabbri.
"The fans have been great," Fabbri said. "We've been feeding off what they've been feeling this year. We're feeling the same way in the room. We're just trying to get better and it's fun to be with this group right now and working towards what we want to be in the future."
Fabbri celebrated the new contract with a glass of wine with his fiancée, and Facetiming his parents back in Toronto.
"I'm the type of player, I control what I can control, and that's playing and let all the noise control itself," Fabbri said of the relief of knowing where he'll be in the near future. "But it is a little bit of a weight off the shoulders and I can just play now. I'm excited to play here for another three (years) after this."
Defenseman Marc Staal is out of COVID protocol and participated in Tuesday's morning skate, but Blashill ruled Staal out for Tuesday's game, being it was Staal's first day back on the ice.
... What do the Wings need to do better, compared to the three-game losing streak recently?
"Our starts to the game have to be a lot better," Fabbri said. "That sets the tone for the rest of the game and we're not digging ourselves to big of a hole. We have to play the way we did to start the second and third periods, and not wait."