The Case For Signing Mike Ribeiro

These are desperate times, my friends. And they call for desperate measures. Just to run down the events of the past couple of weeks:

  1. The Preds trade for James Neal at the draft. It costs Horny and Spaling, but most people see this as an upgrade to the offense. Yeah! Things are heading in the right direction! Now we wait and see who the Preds sign at the start of free-agency.
  2. Uh oh. Every major free agent takes a pass on Smashville. It seems our only recourse is to train up all the 10 year-old hockey players in the area with the hope that by the 2030 season, someone will come here to "play close to home".
  3. The Preds sign Olli Jokinen. This is a good depth move...short term, reasonable dollars. Still, we're left with the feeling that this isn't the end. Surely the Preds have something more up their sleeve, right?
  4. Uh oh again. The Preds announced yesterday that Mike Fisher had surgery LAST THURSDAY to repair a torn achilles. We'll see him in 4-6 months. This is the opposite of good news, obviously.

How does signing Mike Ribeiro solve our problems? Let's Embrace Debate and talk this through:

Wait a minute...Isn't that the guy that just got bought out by the Coyotes because of "behavioral problems"? I heard he yelled at his coach and missed some meetings and stuff. This is kind of a mess.

Yes! That's him! Glad we're talking about the same guy.

So why would the Preds want him, exactly?

Well, he was nearly a point-per-game player in six seasons with the Stars, and he put up 49 points in 48 games with the Capitals during the lockout-shortened 2013 season. Not too bad.

Way to cherry-pick, buddy. I just Google'd the stats...that Caps season was clearly inflated by playing with Ovechkin. And you're conveniently leaving off his season with the Coyotes. What happened there?

Was the season with the Caps inflated? Maybe, but not much. As for last season, it was rough at times. Clearly he had some personal issues developing which hurt his performance. But you know what? He still put up 47 points, which would've been good for 5th on the Preds, two behind Mike Fisher. A low bar, I know, but still.

Ok. So let's assume he's a good hockey player. Why is this a good idea? What if he flames out with the personal stuff here, too?

I'm willing to gamble that won't happen. Here's the situation...Ribeiro probably isn't getting more than a one year deal at this point. He's going to make almost $2 million a season to NOT play for Arizona, so he can "afford" to take a low-ball offer (which is all he's gonna get) and prove himself for a deal next year. If it works out, great. If not, all it cost was a roster spot and some nominal amount of money that isn't yours. Contrast this with any proposed Vincent Lecavalier trade. Vinny is also 34, but is under contract until 2018 with a cap hit of $4.5 million! Not good. Not to mention whatever is given back to Philly in the exchange. I'm not a fan of that option.

Why do the Preds need to make any moves at all? Maybe this is the time to see what the young guys can do?

An interesting point, but I just can't go there right now. If it were mid-season and the team was 10 points out of 8th, then yeah, turn it over to the kids. We need to figure out what some of these guys can do, no doubt. But planning for Milwaukee South in July? That would be a mistake.

So, we've weighed the pros and cons. Personally, I'd be a big fan of this move, as it would add a proven scorer to the mix while not adding term and killing future cap flexibility. Are there risks? Sure, but they're pretty small, and given the available options, this one makes the most sense to me. What do you think?