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Blues coach on prospect Robby Fabbri: 'He’s pushing for a job here right now'

Bob Streicher / USA TODAY Sports

When the St. Louis Blues drafted center Robby Fabbri from the OHL's Guelph Storm with the 21st overall pick at the 2014 Draft, few envisioned a scenario where the 18-year-old would crack the NHL roster this season. As training camp progresses, however, head coach Ken Hitchcock sees a player doing everything he can to push for a job at the pro level.

“He’s not missing a beat,” Hitchcock said of Fabbri. “He’s not going to go away. He’s pushing for a job here right now. He’s a legitimate guy that is looking for work here." 

“I was told before we drafted him that he was a special player, that he was really competitive, he’s got great vision and hockey sense,” Hitchcock continued. “That was in the middle of June. Then we draft him and I get calls, people saying he is going to push for work here.”

After recording 115 points in 74 OHL games (including playoffs) last season, Fabbri entered camp intent on showing the Blues they made the right choice with their selection. “I just keep proving myself, every game, every time I’m on the ice for practice, in the gym,” he said. “There’s a lot of great forwards here, but I'm just coming out and competing every day.”

While the Blues are unlikely to keep Fabbri around for a bottom line role or to watch NHL action from the press box, they might just give him a look among the team's top nine forwards early in the regular season, making a final decision prior to the ten game deadline to send him back to junior.

Either way, the young forward has certainly made an impression on Hitchcock.

“We’re looking at age, what we should look at is the player,” Hitchcock said. “Never mind the age. He’s a young guy. I get that fact. There are going to be some ups and downs. But right now he’s got tremendous hockey sense and vision on the ice that is pretty unique. You’re thinking ‘he’s 18, this is going to get to him’? Well, no, it doesn’t and he gets better. To me, he’s put himself in the mix.”

Fabbri will play Thursday's preseason game against the Minnesota Wild, amid a lineup that closely resembles what the Blues will ice on opening night. Another positive performance might be enough to warrant keeping him around. Based on Thursday morning's lines in practice, he'll be given every opportunity to shine once again.

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