Leading up to July 5th, the first day of NHL free agency, we will be profiling various free agents that we believe the Predators could or should pursue. Today we continue with Washington Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro…
2012-13 Stats: 48 GP, 13 G, 36 A, 49 PTS, +16
2011-12 Stats: 74 GP, 18 G, 45 A, 63 PTS, +5
Previous Contract: 5 years, $25 million
Projected Cap Number: $4.5-5.5 million
Why the Preds should pursue: Since the 2003-04 season, Ribeiro has been a solid and consistent producer to his teams, whether it be Montreal, Dallas or Washington. For a good part of last season, while Alex Ovechkin took his sweet time to get hot, it was Ribeiro who led the offense and finished the season just over a point per game. With 13 goals on the season, six came on the power play, an area that Nashville seems to be either really good or dreadfully bad; Ribeiro would help make the power play 2013-14 the former. The Montreal native is also good for about 17-19 minutes of ice time per contest. It is no secret the Capitals are not going to re-sign the center, and a skilled No. 1 center like Ribeiro is something that has continuously eluded the Predators.
Why the Preds shouldn’t pursue: Ribeiro won’t be cheap. Coming off a five-year deal worth $5 million per season, the 33-year-old would be looking for something similar in terms of dollars. The Predators currently have no forward under contract making that much money. While the ownership keeps eluding to wanting to spend to the cap, and GM David Poile has recently commented that the team will pursue scoring in free agency, the price tag for Ribeiro may be too much for Nashville. While the upside to Ribeiro is evident, he is also a veteran and the Predators seem to be going in a “youth” direction. With David Legwand and Mike Fisher already under contract, will Nashville be looking for another veteran up front?
Where he would fit: Without a doubt Ribeiro would be the top-line center for the Predators, but he doesn’t exactly excel in all areas of the ice. With that in mind, one has to wonder if he would even fit in Barry Trotz’s system. But if they do sign him, who would flank him at wing? Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist would be interesting choices, as the Predators would then have a top line capable of providing offense on any given night.