NHL Trade Rumors: The Pros and Cons of the Capitals Moving Mike Ribeiro

Robert Wood@@bleachRWreachrCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2013

NHL Trade Rumors: The Pros and Cons of the Capitals Moving Mike Ribeiro

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    What should the Washington Capitals do with Mike Ribeiro?

    That was one of the questions posed by Neil Greenberg of The Washington Post on March 4 as the Capitals began the second half of the 2013 NHL season.

    So far, the question has gone unanswered.

    One possible solution is to trade the veteran center..

    Here are the pros and cons—three of each—of the Washington Capitals trading Mike Ribeiro.

PRO: Good Return

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    Washington Capitals general manager George McPhee is looking to get a sizable return in any trade involving Mike Ribeiro.

    Craig Custance of ESPN (via Mark Easson of MyHockeyRumors.com) wrote that "with the Capitals stuck in a hole this season, GM George McPhee could move Ribeiro for a first-round pick and a prospect."

    In the same article, Custance also listed "top-six unrestricted centers that could be available leading up to the trade deadline."

    1. Mike Ribeiro
    2. Derek Roy, Dallas Stars
    3. Stephen Weiss, Florida Panthers
    4. Valtteri Filppula, Detroit Wings

    With Ribeiro so highly regarded and Weiss now out for the season, McPhee should be able to get the return he is looking for.

PRO: Save Money

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    Mike Ribeiro currently makes $5,000,000 per season and has a cap hit to match (CapGeek.com). Ribeiro's contract represents the third largest on the Washington Capitals.

    Re-signing Ribeiro may cost the Capitals even more than what they already pay him. Katie Carrera of The Wasington Post surmises that "Ribeiro could demand upwards of $6 million per season on the open market."

    Trading Ribeiro would free up cap space that Washington could then use to re-sign restricted free agents Karl Alzner and Marcus Johansson.

PRO: Avoids a Long-Term Deal

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    Mike Ribeiro wants a long-term deal, as he told Katie Carrera of The Washington Post:

    I don’t want to move too much. If you can agree to a long term then I’ll be more than happy to stay here. I don’t know if I’m looking for two years and then change place then another two years. I don’t think I want that. Five years for me is long term. Two, three years I don’t think is long term. I think two, three short term. Four, five, six [is] long term and 10 years like Ovi, that’s a marriage thing.

    But in a report on Ribeiro's contract situation by The Post, a pattern has emerged regarding George McPhee's inclination to sign an older player to a long-term deal:

    Since the 2004-05 lockout, McPhee has rarely signed a player in his 30s to a contract longer than two years. The only exceptions are right wing Joel Ward, who was 30 when he agreed to a four-year, $12 million deal as a free agent in the summer of 2011; center Michael Nylander, who was 34 in July 2007 when he signed a four-year, $19.5 million contract; and defenseman Tom Poti, who was 30 in July 2007 when he agreed to a four-year, $14 million contract.

    If McPhee trades Ribeiro, the Caps' GM will keep the list of thirty somethings he has signed to long-term deals from growing.

CON: Leading Scorer

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    One reason Mike Ribeiro is so highly coveted is that he has been very productive this season.

    He is currently averaging 1.06 points per game (Hockey-Reference.com) and is the leading point scorer among unrestricted free agents (CapGeek.com).

    Ribeiro is also the leading point scorer on the Capitals and is tied for the team lead in assists, third in goals and tied for third in the entire NHL in power-play points.

    If Ribeiro is traded, it would create a huge hole in the Capitals' offense.

CON: Renew Search for a 2nd-Line Center

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    At the 2012 NHL Draft, Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy explained how the Capitals' trade for Mike Ribeiro was meant to fill a long-time need of the hockey club:

    It's been the biggest lineup hole for the Washington Capitals on an annual basis: Second-line center, an offensive force to play behind Nicklas Backstrom. They've tried young players that couldn't win the job. They've tried veteran stop-gaps like Brendan Morrison. But at the NHL Draft on Friday night, GM George McPhee tried a bold move to address the problem: Trading for center Mike Ribeiro of the Dallas Stars.

    The trade has been a resounding success. But trading Ribeiro again would put the Capitals right back where they started.

CON: Ribeiro Wants to Stay

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    Right now, trading Mike Ribeiro is not the Capitals' first choice.

    The team is trying to re-sign the veteran, although Ribeiro did reject the first offer, as tweeted by Renaud Lavoie of RDS.

    From my blog: Mike Ribeiro rejected a 3 year offer from the Capitals. But he wants to stay there.

    — Renaud Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) March 28, 2013


    The fact that Mike Ribeiro wants to re-sign with Washington bodes well for the two sides working towards a compromise to get a deal done. But if George McPhee and the Capitals decide to trade Mike Ribeiro after he stated his desire to stay with the team, it would send a message of disloyalty to other Capitals who may be facing free agency in the near future. That is not be the type of reputation the organization wants to earn.