St. Louis Blues to try Robby Fabbri at center in training camp

With the Blues seeking a third-line center following Patrik Berglund‘s injury, Robby Fabbri may get a chance to play his natural position.

As NHL.com’s Lou Korac tweeted on Wednesday, St. Louis Blues head coach Mike Yeo is interested in giving forward Robby Fabbri a look at center during training camp this September. Fabbri was drafted as a center, but hasn’t played the position since playing for the Guelph Storm of the OHL in 2014-15. He’s found significant success as a wing in the NHL, averaging a point every other contest over the first 123 games of his NHL career.

The Blues will have an increased need for a center during the first half of the season, as it was announced on Wednesday that Patrik Berglund will be out until December following surgery to repair a dislocated shoulder. Paul Stastny and newly-acquired Brayden Schenn are likely to be the Blues’ top two centers, but Vladimir Sobotka, Ivan Barbashev, Zach Sanford, and now Fabbri will be among the players considered for the third-line center position.

The Blues will reportedly be cautious with the experiment so that Fabbri’s recovery from a torn ACL he suffered in February is not interrupted.

He’s expected to be fully cleared for training camp, but it’d be understandable if the 21-year-old forward–who relies on a speed-and-skill-based game to find success–felt the need to take things slower than usual as he works his way back into game shape.

It’s worth noting that the Blues have conducted plenty of these experiments in the past without really following through with them over the long term. They’ve tried Dmitrij Jaskin at center for the past couple training camps, but he’s only gotten a few games’ worth of action at the position when Kyle Brodziak has been injured. The same goes for Jaden Schwartz, who has gotten work up the middle during the past two camps but played center for only a few games during the 2016-17 season. They even briefly explored the idea of using Fabbri at center during training camp last year, but after just a couple days they decided not to follow through with that experiment.

With that said, Jaskin and Schwartz actually did end up playing center during the regular season–however briefly it may have been–so if the Blues’ latest experiment gives them more flexibility when injuries undoubtedly occur, there’s little reason not to try it.