Flyers

Flyers

Dante Fabbro is a very talented defenseman whose stock is on the rise as we head toward June's 2016 NHL draft. Many Flyers fans want their team to draft a forward, and it's likely the team will do that, but not if the best player available is a defenseman.

If there's anything we know about the Ron Hextall era in Philadelphia, it's he drafts by best player available — not by team need. This year won't be any different.

The Flyers will own the 18th overall pick in the first round and it doesn't seem likely Fabbro will be available there, but stranger things have happened.

Hextall will be active before and during the draft, and may even try to trade for an established offensive player. If he does that, it's likely he'd have to trade one of his prized defensemen. Based on where the team is drafting, you're picking for tomorrow.

Too many defensemen is tomorrow's problem and something you worry about then.

After starring for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL, Fabbro managed to put up 67 points in 45 games. If he's available at 18, then the Flyers have to think about making him their pick. Injuries can happen and getting a potential elite all-around defenseman is always worth considering. As the NHL gets more defensive, having push from the blue line is huge.

"I want to be that two-day defenseman," Fabbro said recently. "At the end of the day, it's a team game. It's guys who make me stronger."

 

Fabbro, from New Westminster, British Columbia, thinks the game quickly, which allows him to be an amazing passer. His passes are hard and crisp as a result.

He's a fast skater with a pro wrist shot and he's more than ready to crack the Boston University lineup next season, where he'll be playing with fellow prospect Clayton Keller (see story).

"When I find that I'm playing well is when I'm active in the rush and hitting a few guys as well as defending the rush," Fabbro said. "I think playing college next year, that will help me do that with some bigger guys. That will help me develop as a player on and off the ice, and I'm looking forward to that experience."

Going into the U-18 World Championship, Fabbro was thought to be one of the better defensemen in the draft, but he had the BCHL tag attached to him, so he had to prove himself all over again. He did that and more with eight points in seven games against some of the best young players in the world.

"You could say that," Fabbro said. "It's a world-class tournament against a lot of the top players in the world. It's special playing with guys among your draft class.

"You want to go out there and play your best. I'm here to enjoy the experience, also compete hard and enjoy my time with Team Canada."

If there is a run on defensemen, the sturdy, 6-foot-1, 185-pound Fabbro could move into just outside the top 10. But if a few teams target forward, he could slip into an area where the Flyers might consider grabbing him.