Dante Fabbro continues to grow his game for Boston University but as the Terriers’ season slips away, so too may Fabbro.
As one of the Nashville Predators’ top prospects, the defenseman is expected to turn pro at the end of BU’s season—and the end may be coming sooner than in recent years. The Terriers, 10-14-3, sit seventh in Hockey East and have lost five in a row.
The most recent PairWise Rankings peg the Terriers at 27th in a potential NCAA Tournament bid with just seven regular season games remaining. Short of a dramatic surge or conference tournament championship, the Terriers will miss their first national tournament since 2013-14.
In the midst of his junior season with the Terriers, the British Columbia native sits second in team scoring with six goals and 17 assists for 23 points in 27 games. The 20-year-old owns 21 goals and 49 assists for 70 points through 101 NCAA contests. Fabbro has been a strong, reliable two-way defender during his three seasons with BU and was named a team co-captain at the beginning of the season.
McKenzie reports Dante Fabbro would also like to turn pro once the college hockey season is done. #Preds— NHL Prospects Watcher (@Prospects_Watch) February 7, 2019
Losing that type of player and production could spark a gloomy road for the Terriers, who have struggled after losing head coach David Quinn to the NHL’s New York Rangers over the summer.
Fabbro, 17th overall pick in 2016, has proven he has the makings of a true top-four in the NHL and the potential of the top-pair. With him rumored to be on the verge of his entry-level deal, his NHL debut with the Predators is on the horizon. Or is it?
Even with Fabbro’s tremendous upside, a rookie defenseman is unlikely to be the missing piece for a contender come playoffs. Especially a contender with a crowded blue line that boasts P.K. Subban, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm and Ryan Ellis.
“You turn pro, you’re going to have to beat out somebody at some point,” Fabbro told Adam Vingan of The Nashville Tennessean over the summer when asked about the option of playing out his senior year and pursuing free agency. “Obviously they have the best ‘D’ corps in the league, and I’d be honored to play on that blue line with them.”
All four defensemen, save for Roman Josi, are signed through at least the next three seasons. Josi, the team captain, is projected to sign an extension this summer, meaning Fabbro’s immediate future as a top-four defensemen in Nashville is in jeopardy.
But he could still have worth for the Predators in the short-term. A prospect of his pedigree could be the price tag for a top-tier rental as the Predators face going “all in” for the Stanley Cup this season.
He’s already been a major trade chip in rumors as general manager David Poile progresses toward the franchise’s first Stanley Cup. The NHL trade deadline of Feb. 25 is approaching fast and the consensus among analysts is the Predators need more. Fabbro is the type of bait sellers snap at and Poile’s fishing background almost certainly means he’s on the table.
As Fabbro potentially closes out his NCAA career, you can tune in live, right here on FloHockey when he and the Terriers fight for their NCAA Tournament hopes come Hockey East playoffs.
Have a question or a comment for Jacob Messing? You can find him on Twitter @Jacob_Messing.