The signs were painted on the wall.
When Vladimir Tarasenko went down with a season-ending shoulder injury, and the 23-year-old Robby Fabbri couldn’t crack the lineup or even gather fourth line minutes, something was bound to happen.
Doug Armstrong merely did the right thing late Wednesday night after the St. Louis Blues wrapped up their sixth win in a row, a 5-2 triumph over Edmonton. He gave Fabbri a chance to start anew in Detroit with a trade that brought to St. Louis Jacob de la Rose, aka “who the fuck is that?”
You know when the name doesn’t sound familiar at all and you see 2013 draft pick that this was a move for Fabbri to get his career back in order. Simply put, it wasn’t happening in St. Louis. That train left the station when Sammy Blais ascended last spring and in the early going this season.
Fabbri’s time in St. Louis can be boiled down to before and after. Before the two injuries to the same knee, he scored 29 goals and tallied 66 points in 125 games. After Feb. 17, 2017, Fabbri scored just three goals and seven points in 41 games.
A surgeon and specialist who works with hockey players frequently told me a couple years ago that players coming back from multiple knee injuries have the toughest road ahead of them. It’s not just the physical danger on the ice, but the mental one. I don’t think Fabbri ever climbed over that fear of re-injuring the knee. Maybe not, but we will surely find out.
Detroit isn’t exactly a glamorous funhouse of talent, so Fabbri should get a shot to prove himself worthy in Motown. He’s turning 24 soon, so there is still time to get his shit together and be somebody.
I’ll appreciate what the young man gave us in such limited time. He treated his body like a slinky out there, bending and twisting whenever the play needed him. He had a quick shot and was fearless in front of the net. The man is listed at 190 pounds, but he threw his weight around.
I’ll unfortunately remember shooting down the idea of trading Fabbri for Jonathan Drouin. Don’t look, now, but he’s collected three straight seasons of 46+ point seasons and already has 12 points this season. Yeah, that trade would have been sweet, but hindsight being 20/20 and brutally cynical, it’s not easy to make those calls. I didn’t know Bob was going to fuck his knee up twice.
There were many people who weren’t happy that the Blues didn’t get something more for Fabbri. What exactly do you want to get at this point? He’s not playing, hasn’t produced in years, and can’t be trusted to stay healthy. Who do you want on what team? Dream on, people. I swear, some just want to complain about how blue the sky is.
Who is Rose and what can he do? He could be an effective fourth line grinder type. Don’t expect the world from someone who only put up 21 points in his last two seasons combined, but Rose does have the same amount of goals this season as Fabbri. He is a depth guy who the Blues will put to use with Alexander Steen now joining the injured party.
He’s a big body who doesn’t rack up that many penalty minutes or fight much, but does dish out a lot of hits. He’s a bruiser who should keep the other team honest while occasionally chipping in offensively.
This is a move to me that looks like an attempt to keep Jordan Kyrou and Klim Kostin down in San Antonio for the time being. See what Rose can do, and don’t bring up a young prospect just to play around 10-12 minutes.
At the end of the day, it’s a good deal for both parties. The Blues get some depth and Fabbri gets a clean slate with a team that needs him. Cheers to Armstrong for doing the right thing for both the team and the player.
We’ll always have April 25 against Dallas in Game of the second round of the Western Conference playoffs where Fabbri scored the first goal of the series on Ben Bishop. How bittersweet it was!
Take luck, Bob Fabbri. I’ll pour one out for @FabbrisHair.