Ramblings: Fabbri, Strome, and Duclair; McAvoy and Malkin Updates; Canucks Players Returning – January 11

Michael Clifford

2022-01-11

Players changing teams is a constant in the league, but the reasons why they change teams can vary. Sometimes it's just a UFA signing elsewhere, sometimes a player requests a trade, sometimes the team is stripping itself for parts, and sometimes a player just needs a fresh start somewhere else. Regardless, players change teams and their fortunes can change very wildly.

With a bunch of cancellations on Monday night, it's a good chance to catch up with some significant fantasy players who've changed teams over the last few years, and how that's helped (or hurt) them, and what that can tell us about their future.

Robby Fabbri

At the time, the trade of Robby Fabbri for Jacob de la Rose seemed odd. Fabbri already won a Stanley Cup with the Blues and had looked good playing down the lineup. He had injuries and underperformance, but those things happen to every player, especially young ones. He looked like a talented winger, while de la Rose had 28 points in his first 179 career games. It was weird then, and it's still weird now.

Anyway, Fabbri has averaged 40 points per 82 games since arriving in Detroit and has been a fixture of their second line this year. That's not bad production for a team that has been lacking stars for large chunks of his tenure. How has he performed, besides the points?

Looking at his play-making and shot metrics is something to look at here. I will be using Corey Sznajder's data (Patreon here) for this, discussing things like zone entries, shot assists (passes leading to shots), shot rates, high-danger passes, and the like. How has he done since getting to Detroit? Well, it's a mixed bag.

Back in 2019-20, Fabbri did poorly by most shot and play-making metrics except zone entries with control where he was in the 93rd percentile. That is outstanding, clearly, and would help his teammates create shots, but we need more than that for a well-rounded offensive threat, so we'd like to see progression in the shortened 2021 season. The good news is there was progression; he was above-average by both shots per 60 minutes and shot assists, whereas he was in the 12th and 36th percentiles, respectively, the year before. The team was also quite bad, and Dylan Larkin was the only other forward they had to be above-average in both areas. So while we'd like to see even better rates from Fabbri, the fact he did nearly as well as Larkin in those categories would speak to a large improvement. However, it came at the expense of his zone entries with control, which were among the worst on the team. He went from elite in that area to genuinely poor, while improving elsewhere. Signs of a young player starting to put it all together? Well, that brings us to this year. While his shot