FABBRI SIGNS ENTRY-LEVEL DEAL WITH BLUES; GM KELLY ADDS HILTON, RAPP

ROBBY FABBRI SIGNS ENTRY-LEVEL DEAL WITH THE ST. LOUIS BLUES

Earlier this week, Robby Fabbri and the St. Louis Blues agreed to terms on an entry-level contract. The Guelph Storm forward, now in his third season with the club, was drafted 21st overall in this year’s NHL Entry Draft and will look to showcase his talents at the Blues’ development camp later this month.

Despite his youth, Fabbri already has plenty of hockey accomplishments. The Storm took Fabbri with the 6th overall pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Draft and in his first season with the team potted 10 goals while chipping in 23 assists over 59 games. Impressive numbers for a first-year player.

Fabbri truly established his status as a legitimate goal-scoring threat last season, his second, when he lit the lamp 45 times. Arguably one of the OHL’s breakout stars last season, his 21st overall selection comes at no surprise, and many believe if he continues to grow at this rate he can be a very capable top-6 forward in the NHL.

In addition to his accomplishments in major junior hockey, Fabbri also has quite the glamourous resume at the national and international level. In 2013, Fabbri competed as a member of Canada Ontario at the U17 World Hockey Challenge. A year later he played for Team Canada at the annual Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament; a showcase of the world’s best young hockey talent.

Enter 2014. Even in this season’s infancy it is already shaping up to be his best, as he not only got drafted by the Blues but competed at Team Canada’s World Juniors development camp. Fabbri’s spot on the World Juniors squad is hardly cemented, but few hockey players even get the chance to begin with. He’s only 18 too, so even if he doesn’t make it he is presumably going to see international ice in 2016 or 2017.

It won’t be long until Robby Fabbri is wearing a St. Louis Blues every day. But what about the 2014/15 season? What does this recent announcement mean for Guelph Storm fans? Luckily for Storm City, few 18-year olds play in the NHL. Just look at the situation developing in Florida, where it’s unsure whether 1st overall pick Aaron Ekblad will even play for the Panthers this year. Sidney Crosby was able to do it, and you could make the case potential 2015 1st overall pick Connor McDavid may be ready right away. But as much as we all love Robby Fabbri, he is not a Crosby and will be back in Guelph this year. The Storm may lose him for a couple games early on, as it is unsure when he will return from the Blues’ development camp, but this latest news should be minimally concerning for fans.

HILTON, RAPP, LOOK TO FILL VOIDS LEFT BY DEPARTING FORWARDS

I don’t think it comes at any surprise; the Guelph Storm are good enough to win their division and compete for a league championship again this season. But don’t get me wrong, they have some holes they need to fill. Scott Kosmachuk, Zach Mitchell, Brock McGinn, Kerby Rychel; that’s a lot of talent leaving up front.

Last week GM Mike Kelly added some depth to the front end, announcing the signings of 17-year old forwards Aleks Rapp and Jesse Hilton. Obviously no one is expecting these two to put up 60 or 70 points a piece, but these two will likely spend regular stretches in the lineup and challenge those around them to be better.

Rapp, a 6’4″/230-pound forward, spent last season playing midget as a Mississauga Rebel where he contributed 25 points in 31 games. While his draft status, Storm 2013 12th rounder, offers limited optimism, his size and strength around the puck are tools he can work with. Just think, no one expected Justin Auger to contribute offensively as much as he has, and he has learned to work with his beastly stature to put himself in good scoring positions.

The other forward signing is that of Jesse Hilton. An undrafted forward, Hilton spent his 2013/14 season with the U18 Blythe Academy team and scored at a near point-per-game pace over 50+ games.

Preseason action continues for the Storm this Friday, as they take on the Mississauga Rebels in Milton, ON.

Joe Krizman

In 2013, Joe graduated from Queen’s University with a degree in Physical and Health Education. During his years in school, he spent his summers off working with kids at a summer camp; an experience he credits as being highly influential in shaping who he is today.

Joe followed up his university degree by moving out to Calgary for the 2013/14 hockey season, where he served as the Coordinator of Player Development & Recruitment for the Western Hockey League (WHL) in their head office. Having developed a love for major junior hockey with the WHL, he is excited to be getting involved with it again this season back in his hometown of Guelph.

A self-proclaimed “sports enthusiast”, Joe is thrilled about getting the opportunity to share his thoughts and sports insights in a new way.