Tim Taylor has gotten to know St. Louis Blues 2014 first-round pick Robert Fabbri quite extensively this week. The Blues director of player development worked with some of their top prospects during development camp at the Ice Zone, inside St. Louis Outlet Mall. After watching Fabbri, Taylor understood why the Blues made the center from the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League the 21st pick last month. "There's a reason why we picked him first," Taylor said of Fabbri, who had 45 goals and 87 points in 58 regular-season games then was named MVP of the OHL playoffs after he had 13 goals and 28 points in 16 games. He capped his season with two goals and four assists in four games while helping the Storm reach the Memorial Cup championship game. "He's got that acceleration. He separates himself instantly away from his man," Taylor said. "He's got good instincts to get the puck to the net; not only shooting the puck, but he drives the net hard. Those are all good qualities in an NHL player that we like. He's a difference-maker. He's looking to be the difference in the game." The Blues have been thirsty for a playmaking center for years. Although Fabbri isn't NHL-ready yet, his St. Louis debut left a positive impression. "I just try to have as much fun as I can," Fabbri said. "Obviously a lot of fans [came] out ... that's great to see. All the guys you're skating with, you just want to stay relaxed and try and do the best you can. "Just go hard every drill. You don't want to take a drill off. You're going with different guys. You want to communicate and show them what I can do." Taylor said the player who comes to mind when he sees Fabbri is one of his former teammates, New York Rangers forward Martin St. Louis. "He shows he has the work ethic like Marty," Taylor said. "I'm very close to Marty, and I'm going to talk to Marty about Robby and the fact that Robby is a smaller guy. He's not small (5-foot-10, 170 pounds), but he's a smaller guy. He goes to hard areas, he's tenacious, he's gritty, and he's just going to have to watch himself a little bit and understand that he can't go in those areas at all times. He's going to have to learn and pick and choose. "I'll pick Marty's brain at a golf tournament in a couple weeks, so I'll pick his brain about Robby and I'll get them to connect and Robby can pick his brain." Guelph coach Scott Walker raved about Fabbri before the draft and told the Guelph Mercury, "Twenty years from now [Fabbri] might be the player that sold the most jerseys and the most tickets. I really do believe he has the best skill and heart in the draft." Fabbri was quick to credit Walker for part of his development and success. "He's such a great coach," Fabbri said. "And the way our team was [in 2013-14], it's a reflection on the way he coaches. He was a competitive player and he's a competitive coach and he wants that out of all of us. I like having that in my game, so it's always good to have someone like that pushing you.
Fabbri makes strong first impression on Blues
NHL.com | Jul 13