Friday, June 27, 2014

Blues select center with first round pick

Amid trade rumors, team keeps 21st pick and takes OHL playoff MVP

There was no splash regarding a trade from the Blues on the first day of the 2014 NHL Draft.

Instead, the only news the Blues made on Friday night from Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center was they kept their first round pick and selected a position they've been rumored to be trading for or adding via free agency.

With the 21st pick in the first round, the Blues selected center Robby Fabbri, who played last season with the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League.
(Getty Images)
Robby Fabbri was selected with the 21st pick of the 2014
NHL Draft Friday night by the Blues.

Fabbri, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, scored 45 goals and totaled 87 points in 58 regular season games with the Storm. He was named playoff MVP of the playoffs after registering 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists and 28 points) in 16 postseason games for Guelph, including three assists in the series-clinching Game 5 victory over North Bay of the OHL championship.

Fabbri knows a thing or two about his new teammates and his new team.

"They've been a great team for many years," Fabbri said. "Very talented offensively and they've got a guy like (Alex) Pietrangelo on the d-end. I just feel like I can fit in great there. I've never been more excited to join a team in my life."

According to his bio on, Fabbri models his game after Carolina's Jeff Skinner, saying, "He's not a big guy, like me. Watching him, I've been able to see a few things that I can add to my game for my advantage."

Fabbri, 18, helped the Storm finish with the top record in the OHL with 108 points (52-12-2-2) this past season.

His size may not indicate it, but Fabbri will sell himself on the Blues and their fans, especially if he plays after a particular fan-favorite, Vladimir Sobotka.

"Pretty hard-working forward, compete hard every shift, pretty hard-skilled two-way forward," Fabbri said of his game. "I enjoy to play in the dirty areas as well as down the slot.

"Hard-working, sub-six foot guy. I think I see a lot of myself in him as well." 

So the Blues, who were rumored to include their first-round pick in this draft in any trade, have been linked with Ottawa to acquire center Jason Spezza but that never materialized. It had been reported that the Senators' asking price for Spezza -- initially -- was too high for the Blues and any other team linked to Spezza, who is Ottawa's captain.

"Vancouver got the ball rolling (with the trade of Ryan Kesler to Anaheim)," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said. "But there hasn't been much else going on. There's constant dialogue with people, but we have an understanding of how we'd like to improve and we're looking to give value to get value. We're not looking to underpay or overpay."

On Thursday, the Blues resigned restricted free agent center Patrik Berglund to a three-year contract that will pay him $3.7 million annually ($11.1 million total). 

It was assumed that the timing of the contract indicated that Berglund would be offered up in a trade involving Spezza, but Armstrong said everyone was ready to jump to conclusions.

"It just happened to happen two days before the draft," he said. "People are reading into it more than is really there"

The Ducks earlier in the day acquired Kesler from the Canucks, but the Blues were never in those discussions.

The Blues can always turn back to the Senators, but should they turn away from Spezza, the NHL's free agency period begins Tuesday and the Blues are reported to have high interest in -- among others -- Colorado's Paul Stastny, who grew up in St. Louis and went to Chaminade High School his freshman and sophomore years.

"The free agents we've been able to talk to, it's been good," Armstrong said. "They're aware of our interest."

Rounds 2-7 will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. and the Blues have eight more selections, beginning with the third pick (33rd overall) in the second round, a pick they acquired from the Edmonton Oilers in the David Perron trade.

Among some of the notable players remaining on the board include Kitchener center Ryan MacInnis, son of Blues' executive Al MacInnis, Moncton left wing Ivan Barbashev, who is best friends with Blues' Dmitrij Jaskin, Barrie left wing Brendan Lemieux, son of former NHL tough guy Claude Lemieux and Portland's Dominic Turgeon, son of former Blues center Pierre Turgeon.

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