2015-16 Team: Penticton Vees (#57)
Date of Birth: June 20, 1998
Place of Birth: Coquitlam, BC
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 190 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 first-year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking: 14th (June)
- THW Alternate: 19th (June)
- THW War Room: 17th (June)
- Future Considerations: 13th (June)
- ISS: 19th (June)
- Bob McKenzie: 16th (June)
- Craig Button: 16th (June)
In the hockey world, at least recently, right-shooting defensemen have emerged as a rarity to the point where they’re very sought after by National Hockey League clubs. While there are a few minor question marks surrounding him, Dante Fabbro may be the top right-shooting blueliner in the 2016 NHL Draft class.
Fabbro is a teammate of Penticton Vees forward Tyson Jost, and shares with Jost a reluctance to leave junior-A for the confines of major junior with an eye towards maintaining NCAA eligibility. Fabbro’s committed to joining the Boston University Terriers next season and will join a very deep blue line there. Like Jost, Fabbro has dominated the BCHL over the past season. Also like Jost, Fabbro will inevitably face questions about the quality of competition he’s faced in that league, particularly when compared to players from the USHL and Canadian major junior. While there’s no real way around those questions, Fabbro has been superb for Penticton and has many attributes that will help him translate his game to the next level.
He’s not huge, but he uses his frame well and is a very mobile player. Scouts have noted that he has a very good “floor,” in the sense that the things he does well such as his passing and general situational awareness will translate well to the higher levels of hockey. He’s not a player that relies on sheer force or size to be effective, and that’ll be key moving forward. He’s a great positional player and is almost always in the right place at the right time and has good instincts in terms of when to take risks and when not to. He’ll need to bulk up a bit and work on the physical aspects of his game, but he’s already a consistently strong player in most areas of the ice.
The only “big” question about Fabbro is if he can consistently do what he did in the BCHL against more talented players. He’ll have a few years at Boston University to figure that out. In the meantime, he has the raw attributes that most NHL teams would love to have in their organization.
NHL Draft Projection:
Current projections suggest that Fabbro will be drafted in the back-half of the first round, but definitely in the first round. Expect to see his name called somewhere between 17th and 22nd overall.
“The Vees have to be thankful for Fabbro, as well. The Boston University commit is a top-20 scorer in the BCHL, despite being a defenseman. He has 63 points in 42 games and has scouts on high alert. One NHL evaluator even told me that Fabbro is “basically like an NHL player already,” thanks to the way he processes the game and gets pucks through. While WHL Seattle pushed hard for his services, Fabbro stayed in Penticton this year to preserve his NCAA status.”
–Ryan Kennedy, The Hockey News
“Dante Fabbro is a dependable two-way defenseman with high offensive upside. He plays with poise and makes mature, high-percentage decisions under pressure. In his own end, he is proactive with both his body and stick, and does everything right to interrupt passing lanes and win back possession. With the puck on his stick, he is mobile at an elite level and can direct plays like a quarterback. He possesses a hard and accurate release on his shot, that he gets off quickly and on-net. All-in-all, a complete defenseman that plays a refined game at both ends of the ice.”
–Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
- Great on-ice awareness
- Strong hockey sense
- Accurate passer
Under Construction (Improvements to Make):
- Needs to add a bit of muscle onto his frame to withstand physicality of higher levels
- Needs to prove himself against higher-level competition
- Could stand to add a bit of velocity to his slap shot (to complement his wrister from the point)
Fabbro projects as a puck-moving defender at the NHL level, perhaps to the degree of being like Shayne Gostisbehere or Torey Krug.
Risk – 1/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive 7.5/10, Defensive 8/10
Fabbro has become a Hockey Canada favourite early in his career. He played for Canada Red at the U17s, for Canada West at two consecutive U19 tournaments, and for the Canadian entry at this past summer’s Ivan Hlinka memorial tournament (winning gold). He was recently named to the Canadian roster for the spring Under-18 World Championship.
Ryan Pike has covered the Calgary Flames and the NHL Draft extensively since 2010 as a Senior Writer for The Hockey Writers and Senior Contributing Editor of FlamesNation.ca. A member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, he lives in Calgary.