St. Louis Blues fans have reason to be worried about the 2017-18 season now. They just lost a player many were looking to count on for production for the entire season.
St. Louis Blues fans’ worst fears have been realized regarding Robby Fabbri. The 21 year old from Missassauga, Ontario just learned that he will miss the entire 2017-18 season.
For the second year in a row, Fabbri has injured his ACL. Making matters worse, it is the same knee for the second year in a row. That fact does not breed confidence for the rest of Fabbri’s career.
The Blues were planning on Fabbri being a key contributor to a playoff, and hopefully championship, team. Now, they are left scrambling to fill his spot.
The Blues are, by no means, dead in the water due to this injury. The cupboard is not bare.
St. Louis has players that were waiting in the wings for their chance. Maybe they will step up to the plate, so to speak, and there will be little to no dropoff.
It is not as though his production is beyond replication. Fabbri had 18 goals his rookie season and 11 in 2016-17. Those are achievable numbers for any player taking that spot.
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The issue becomes with out expectations of Fabbri. He scored 11 in an injury shortened season and 18 without a clue what the NHL would offer. So, many figured if he could get healthy, he would score around 25 and maybe more – hopefully more, in fact.
That is a little bit more of a burden to place on anyone, rookie or otherwise, if they have not seen significant time in the NHL to this point. Regardless of talent, you can’t expect any of the prospects to put up those kinds of numbers.
Suddenly, Braden Schenn has a lot more pressure on him. If he fails to perform compared to what he’s done in the past, the Blues are suddenly without two point producers, in terms of what many expected before the season.
That might be unfair to him. He was not brought in to replace anyone. He was brought in to add to the team.
Now, that doesn’t feel like the case. Schenn is not replacing Fabbri in a trade or taking his position (the Fabbri as center experiment had already ended before the injury). He is now forced to replace the production and someone else must be the additional player.
The other reason this hurts is the thinning of the Blues’ talent base.
A few days ago, someone on Facebook, brought up the topic of who the Blues’ top four or five were. The idea behind the conversation was most championship teams have four or five players that are clearly leaders, both statistically and emotionally.
Fabbri was likely to be one of those players. If you think about who those key guys would be, you’d likely choose Vladimir Tarasenko, Paul Stastny, Braden Schenn, Alex Pietrangelo and the last spot would be Fabbri. You could argue for guys like Alexander Steen or Colton Parayko to replace any of the names except Tarasenko, but that is the group.
Now, with Fabbri gone, you’re forcing guys who might not be capable of scoring at that clip to put up goal scoring stats. Again, not fair but it will come to that if the Blues are to succeed.
Beyond just this season, you have to wonder about the future of the player himself. There was so much promise in the talented youngster.
With a debilitated knee, can he ever really reach his potential? Will he even be able to remotely reach the explosiveness he showed in his first two years?
Sadly, I don’t see that happening. I won’t go so far as to say his career is over, but I don’t see him becoming the player we envisioned.
Hopefully, that assessment is incorrect. As fans, we want this guy to be healthy, not just for the team and ourselves, but for himself as well.
To only get one and a half quality years in the NHL would really be a shame. Hopefully he fights through it, rehabs like a beast and shows all the doubters.
For now, the future of the player and the team is a bit cloudy. The injury does not end hopes for either, but it makes things a lot harder.