ST. LOUIS — The Blues weren’t able to trade for a center on Friday, but they were able to select one with their first-round pick at the NHL Draft in Philadelphia.
The Blues tabbed high-scoring 18-year-old Robby Fabbri with their first-round pick, No. 21 overall, on Friday night.
A 5-foot-10, 170-pounder from Missisauga, Ontario, Fabbri had 45 goals and 42 assists for 87 points in 58 regular season games for Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League this past season, his second in the league, and then scored 28 points (13 goals, 15 assists) in 16 postseason games en route to the Storm winning the OHL championship.
Fabbri, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the playoffs, is a left-handed shooter who was ranked as the 21st best prospect among North American skaters going into the 2014 Draft.
"Robert has been very noticeable and extremely productive," Chris Edwards of NHL Central Scouting told NHL.com. "He is an excellent playmaker and has good puckhandling ability. He’s very effective on the power play, elusive and quick."
EliteProspects.com wrote that Fabbri is "a below average sized buzz saw who works hard and has some of the best feet in the entire draft. He uses his speed and mobility to be shifty and elusive but is also willing to play physical. His hands are skilled, he shows some creativity on the ice and has a quick shot release."
In his first season with Guelph, in 2012-13, Fabbri had 10 goals and 23 assists for 33 points in 59 games.
Fabbri told NHL.com that he models his game after Jeff Skinner.
Skinner was the No. 7 overall pick by Carolina in 2010 and was the Calder Memorial Trophy winner as the NHL’s best rookie after accounting for 63 points in 2010-11. He scored 33 goals in 71 games this past season.
"He’s not a big guy, like me," Fabbri said. "Watching him, I’ve been able to see a few things that I can add to my game for my advantage."
TSN’s Craig Button projects Fabbri as a No. 2 center in the future and compared him to Mike Cammalleri of the Calgary Flames, a 5-9 center who has 502 points in 669 career NHL games.
Mark Seidel, chief scout with North American Central Scouting, was effusive of his praise of Fabbri in an interview with the Toronto Star newspaper during the OHL postseason.
"He’s got star written all over him," Seidel told the newspaper. "The way his season has come on, the kind of playoffs he’s had, he reminds me of Jeff Skinner.
"Skinner had a great year (in his draft year) in Kitchener, but it was in the playoffs where he really came on. In the scouting business, you’re always looking at guys who are still getting better, who are continually swinging upwards.
"Well, this Fabbri kid is continuing to rise," Seidel said.
The NHL Draft concludes with rounds two through seven beginning on Saturday morning. The Blues have eight picks remaining and the first of their two second-round picks, acquired in the David Perron trade with the Oilers, is No. 33 overall.