|5v5 P/60||5v5 SAT%||5v5 SAT% Rel||5v5 SCF%||5v5 ZSO%||5v5 PDO||5v5 TOI/Gm|
In September, we said that the best possible outcome for Mike Ribeiro this year was "his new attitude and desire for change combine with a reinvigorated playing style, which allows him to thrive in Nashville." You can't ask much more from a $1 million dollar free agent than 15 goals and 62 points, while helping to lead the charge back to the playoffs for the first time in two years.
The 35-year was the second-highest scoring player on the team, behind only Filip Forsberg. For almost the entire year, the first line was carrying the offense while the other lines sputtered. Ribeiro was also the second-best possession player on the team, though he did receive very, very favorable zone starts. Unfortunately, his faceoff prowess left something to be desired. Among centers, only Colin Wilson and Olli Jokinen were worse than his 43.21%.
Still, the season started with fans hoping he wouldn't play himself out of the NHL. Instead, they got all they wanted and more, and he fulfilled our Bold Prediction as well:
"Ribeiro has his best season since leaving Dallas. He doesn't join the 20 goal club this year, but is able to rack up 60 points." -OTF Sept. 4, 2014.
GIF Ribeiro hit on Kane pic.twitter.com/e4iq4bSSfN— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) April 24, 2015
Also, don't forget his mastery of deslaption:
Finally, Ribeiro has never been a shoot-first player in his career. Expecting him to take a shot rather than look for a pass will only lead to infuriation by way of frustration. That said, when he does elect to wind up... look out.
From our season preview:
Tarantula. Often feared because of appearance and the whole poison thing, but is just misunderstood. Provides a valuable service to the ecosystem, and still has the power to take down a bird twice its size.
David Poile has to feel at least a little better being that weird kid that shows up to school with a big-ass spider in a plastic container, rather than like, a hamster or something.
The Road Ahead
The Predators may find themselves in a tough situation in regards to Ribeiro. They paid peanuts for what he ultimately ended up producing, but that marked-down price will absolutely not continue. The Preds also need to decide if they feel comfortable paying that price to have a 36-year-old be their top center. As instrumental as he was to success this year, a repeat season is not guaranteed, and the chance of his decline increases with every passing year.
There's also the ongoing lawsuit surrounding Ribeiro, his wife, and their former nanny. The allegations of assault and threats cast a very serious shadow over them. Regardless of how the legal process plays itself out over the next couple of months, it could return Ribeiro to pariah status, if it hasn't done so already. It's also something Poile cannot take lightly. Given how he's previously benched players for missing curfew, cutting ties has to at least be a consideration.
If tied aren't cut (for whatever reason) Poile needs to assess whether Ribeiro can be a good stop-gap for a year or two while the team pursues/develops a top-line center. He apparently wants to be back. If, however, the money is too much and the term too long, or the legal situation becomes even more nefarious than it is, Nashville will be better off biting the bullet and walking away. It would hurt in the short term, but keeping open a roster spot while avoiding a potential albatross contract sets up the team for the future.
For the second summer in a row, for better or for worse, Ribeiro is going to have plenty of eyes and question marks surrounding him.