Coming in as our 17th ranked prospect, is Penticton Vees defenceman Dante Fabbro.
The smooth skating defenceman was a force for what many expected to be the eventual BCHL champions. but their season was cut short after a 2nd round loss to West Kelowna. For Fabbro personally, the loss may have been a blessing in disguise as he was able to suit up for Canada at the U18 World Junior Championships.
This allowed him to play against the top players from all over the world with hopes of mitigating the questions of whether his success at the junior A level in Penticton would translate. We think it did, thus he falls just outside of the top 15 for the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
- Age: 17, 1998-06-20
- Birthplace: New Westminster, B.C., Canada
- Frame: 6’0″, 190 lbs.
- Position: D
- Handedness: R
- Draft Year Team: Penticton Vees
- Accomplishments/Awards: Ivan Hlinka Memorial Gold Medal (15/16), BCHL First All-Star (15/16), BCHL Top Defenceman (15/16)
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Dante Fabbro is gifted offensive defenseman who has shown to be capable of dominating puck possession in his two seasons with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. Fabbro combines agile skating, lateral mobility, and near elite speed when evading defenders as he rushes the puck up ice into the attacking zone. Deadly efficient on the powerplay, Dante is best when he has the puck on his stick as he can spot team mates with breakout passes and release a strong, accurate point shot from the blue line. Though tabbed as an offensive d-man, Fabbro is also effective in the defensive zone as he is extremely effective in puck retrieval, even under pressure, and is strong in transition.
An outstanding two-way defenseman who was the best defenseman in the BCHL this season, Fabbro also had strong showings in international play. His hockey IQ is among the best in this draft class. The way Fabbro moves the puck dictates the tempo of the shift. His passes are accurate but also very crisp, as he puts his full weight into a lot of his breakout passes. He’s so calm and aware on his outlets, and is a decent skater, which lets him rush the puck up as well. Fabbro can QB a power play, and has some creativity in his game.He’s got a decent frame, will engage his checks physically and is a quality positional player. There’s an occasional mistake on that end, but for the most part he’s a pretty sound player.
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.
A fairly unknown commodity to most hockey fans simply because he played in the BCHL, Dante Fabbro may be the best right handed defenceman available in this year’s draft. A smooth skating, puck mover who put up massive points for the Penticton Vees, had some questions about being able to translate that success to a higher competition level. But after a very good performance at the U18 tournament in North Dakota, Fabbro firmly placed himself in the conversation as a Top 20 pick in this upcoming draft, with thought of him going in the Top 15 as a possibility.
Fabbro played the majority of the U18 tournament paired with Jakob Chychrun, where he was the puck rushing part of the pair, while Chychrun played more of the defensive role of the two. This resulted in Fabbro posting 8 assists in 7 games, which was tied for most points by a Canadian defenceman with David Quenneville. They both trailed United States defenceman Adam Fox, who posted 9 points.
Although his offensive skills were quite apparent throughout the tournament, he wasn’t a slouch in his own zone. He wasn’t physical in trying to separate players from the puck, instead using his skating skills and active stick to interrupt passing lanes.
As we can see, Fabbro worked his way up to 1.5 PPG by the 10 game mark and then hovered around there for the majority of the season. He ended the year with 1.49 PPG in the regular season and was around 0.72 PPG during the playoffs. The Vees battled through injuries during the playoffs which led to a drop in offence and their eventual elimination.
The New Westminster native led all defenceman in scoring and finished the season tied for 15th amongst all skaters. His 1.49 PPG were ranked 6th in the BCHL and his 23 power-play assists were 4th. The next closest defenceman in scoring was Yanni Kaldis, who is almost three years older than Fabbro. Simply put and as expected, there was no one in the BCHL in same realm as Fabbro.
Fabbro, along with teammate Tyson Jost, wanted to remain in the BCHL to maintain their NCAA eligibility. This is why despite being drafted 8th overall by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL draft, Fabbro remained in junior A. He is committed to attend Boston University next season.
When looking at the pGPS for Fabbro, as you can see there are no matches. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just simply that no one else has done what Fabbro has done before. There just hasn’t been a defenceman at his age who tore up the BCHL at the same rate.
It’s clear that there is the top tier of defenceman available in this year’s entry draft with Olli Juolevi, Michael Sergachev and Jakob Chychrun likely all being selected in the top 10. But after that, there are group of defenceman that are interchangeable based on a teams fondness for each one. Which means that Fabbro could be the fourth defenceman to hear his name called, or could be the sixth or seventh off the board.
Fabbro possesses a skill set that is extremely attractive to NHL teams. He skates with the puck very well, and as we see from his power play production, can quarterback a power play with ease. Combine that with his smarts in the defensive zone, and Fabbro potentially has the full package to be an NHL defenceman for a long time.
He has been compared to Tyson Barrie of the Colorado Avalanche a few times, and if that’s the type of player Fabbro develops into, than a team will be extremely happy with their selection.