KAMLOOPS — Don’t worry Nashville Predators fans. Dante Fabbro still sounds very much connected to your hockey club.
The Predators have gone on record saying they think Fabbro, a 20-year-old defenceman from Coquitlam, is ready for pro hockey.
Fabbro, the 17th overall selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft after two stellar BCHL seasons with the Penticton Vees, has opted instead to return this fall to the Boston University Terriers for his junior season.
Should Fabbro finish his senior season next year with the Terriers, he would become an unrestricted free agent. Fabbro, who’s been checking in on the World Junior Showcase at the Sandman Centre as a fan after playing in the tournament the past two winters with Team Canada, says he remains on track to be a Predator one day.
“They’ve done nothing but unbelievable things for me,” Fabbro, a 6-1, 192-pound right-handed shot, said of Nashville. “They’re definitely the team I want to play for when I sign in the NHL. It’s just not right now. It’s down the road.
“Obviously you want to play in the NHL. That’s the end goal. Everyone has different paths. Some guys are faster getting there. Some guys are slower. In my case, it’s a little bit slower. I’m OK with that. I can develop in college.”
You could argue that Fabbro hasn’t been swayed from his path before. He was the eighth overall pick in the 2013 WHL bantam draft by the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds featured centre Mathew Barzal, a close buddy of Fabbro’s from their time in minor hockey with the Burnaby Winter Club.
Fabbro admits that Barzal heavily promoted going to Seattle. Fabbro still opted for Penticton and the NCAA plan.
Barzal and Fabbro were recently part of a group of players on the ice in Kelowna for summer workouts.
Fabbro was named co-captain of the Terriers for this coming campaign. He’ll share the duties with senior forward Bobo Carpenter. The team also features sophomore forward Brady Tkachuk, who was picked fourth overall in June’s draft by the Ottawa Senators, and junior goalie Jake Oettinger, who was the 26th overall choice in the 2017 draft by the Dallas Stars.
Fabbro had nine goals and 29 points in 38 games with the Terriers last season. They finished 22-14-4 last season, losing out in the NCAA Northeast Regional final.
The team changed head coaches this summer, with Albie O’Connell moving up from associate coach to replace David Quinn, who has taken over the bench boss duties with the New York Rangers.
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