Most if not all Washington Capitals fans were all ears on day one of NHL Free Agency day when General Manager George McPhee would announce any big trades as well as any players leaving the Caps. I, as well as many others, had to wonder what was going through the mind of George McPhee when he announced that Mike Ribeiro, a 33-year-old second line center, would not join in the Capitals quest for the cup next year.
It is not a big secret when I say most loyal Capitals fans knew the odds were not very good for Ribeiro (Known as Ribz) staying part of the Caps squad this coming season due to his kids going into higher grades in school. Ribz wanted a long-term contract, that being four years or longer so he and his family can be in one place while his kids progress through school and make their way to college. Per CBS Sports, Ribeiro did not get that contract offer from McPhee and instead ventured off to Phoenix for a four-year, $22 million contract.
I’m not about to bash McPhee or talk about how big a loss this would be for the Caps. Plain and simple, Ribz was a huge part of the Caps success this past season. Great with the playmaking role which we lost with Alexander Semin two seasons ago. Arguably, Ribeiro was much, much better than Semin. Everyone on the Caps seemed to gel with Ribeiro. He was not only great on the second line, but was an enormous part of the outstanding Capitals power-play that was consistently putting goals on the board all season. Ribz put up a not so outstanding 13 goals this season, but as a playmaker, you can’t really expect Rocket Richard worthy performances from him. However, he did but up a crucial 36 assists on the year, which is not half bad for a playmaker, heck, it is even pretty good.
Something that I knew had myself and many other Capitals fans yelling at their TV throughout the season was Ribeiro’s temper. Ribeiro had a little bit of a temper to say the least, and would find himself in the box quite a lot this season with 53 penalty minutes. These penalties were for the most part retaliation penalties or unsportsmanlike calls for barking at the refs after the whistle. This kind of behavior is something that us Caps fans will not miss very much, especially when these penalties could eventually cost a whole team a run at the Stanley Cup.
With Ribeiro gone, it will surely be a focal point for all Caps fans and analysts out there. I do not think this trade will cost the Caps a whole season by any means, but it definitely is a huge loss, a loss that the Caps will have to take full responsibility for. If the Capitals can get someone with as great of playmaking skills as Ribeiro for cheaper, than obviously that is the right thing to do. The only thing setting the Caps back at this point is the simple fact that good playmakers are hard to come by, and most of the time not pocket change prices. It will be interesting to see what GMGM and the rest of the Caps will decide to do about the loss of Ribeiro. In the meantime, us Caps fans will just sit here, hoping for the best.