Photo credit: Scott Levy

Mike Ribeiro is a hot topic surrounding the Washington Capitals lately — not just because he’s been the team’s best player. Instead, Ribs is looking for a five-year deal in a market where free-agent forwards get big money, even with the salary cap decreasing by $6 million next year (from $70.2 million to $64.4 million).

Ribeiro is 33-years-old and is on the last year of a five-year, $25 million dollar deal. His next contract will certainly be the last big one of his career, and he wants his family to have a good, stable home. We shouldn’t expect his production (11 goals, 35 points in 33 games this season) to stay this way as his enters the latter part of career. On the other hand, however, the Caps haven’t a quality second-line center in years.

Within the next few games, the Caps may figure out if they want to– or even are able to– re-sign Ribeiro for a price that’s reasonable. Ribeiro told me he would have discussions with the team about a new contract before the trade deadline on April 3. Presumably, if his demands are too high for Washington, they may trade him.

“If it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen,” Ribeiro said of a possible extension in Washington. “We’ll talk, obviously, before trade deadline and see where they’re at, where I’m at. We’ll go from there.”

Other than re-signing him or dealing him, there is a third option: letting him play out his deal in Washington before Ribeiro goes to the open market. That would be the worst-case scenario — especially if the Caps miss the playoffs with no prospect or picks gained along the way. Preferably, Washington would sign Ribeiro to an affordable deal. But considering the massive contracts Alex Semin, Corey Perry, and Ryan Getzlaf have gotten recently, that might not be possible. Capitals General Manager George McPhee will have to decide which side he’s on soon.

On Tuesday, Ribeiro continued to increase his value, adding his 11th goal of the season. Halfway through the game, he unleashed a sizzling wrist shot past Islanders goalie Evgeny Nabokov. As with many of Ribeiro’s plays, it was a demonstration of pure skill.

“I’m not worried about it and I just want to win games,” Ribeiro said after Washington’s 3-2 loss. “When the time comes, if there’s a deal to be made it will be made.”

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  • Dominic

    As much as I’d love to see Ribs back, I just can’t help but feel like the safe play here (Selling at deadline) would set us up to be ballers (puck-ers?) next season. I love RIbeiro, and if we can keep him, I would love to see it. At times like this, I’d love to see some work on changing to rules(?) about restructuring NHL deals.

  • Getting rid of Ribs is a terrible idea… Ribs is probably the only player we have that has been consistently good all season, as well as the only player who’s playing is in accordance with his price. I hate saying it but it seems that the rest of the big-money players aren’t playing up to their contracts. Ovi’s finally starting to turn it around but taking in to account the rest of the season, he’s underperformed. Green’s been solid defensively, but as someone who’s supposed to be an offensive defenseman, I feel he’s played woefully below standard. Backstrom’s play has suffered… I could go on but I’d rather offload someone other than Ribeiro at this point. We have a glut of defensemen as it stands, I’d expect Greener to go before Ribs. On top of all of this, losing him would put us right back where we were for the last several years, nobody resembling a proper second-line center. Add in additional prospects becoming available at forward positions next season, we could use a veteran to help their adjustment to the NHL. For those who thought TL;DR – Keep Ribs. We’d be stupid not to.

  • just a guest

    The unfortunate part of trading away a piece you really need, is that you won’t be getting anything to fill that gap in return. The caps will be right back where they started.

    They won’t be getting a center, or at least one that can take on such a big role immediately. No need for a goalie. The defense has been running on fumes, so that would make sense, or a winger that can compliment Ovechkin perhaps.

    Who am I kidding? Here comes a late first round pick and a mid range prospect at best.

  • GARY

    Put the A on RIBS shirt and sign him and get rid of GREEN he is the cancer to this team or get a new GM for the CAPS

  • Green is making $6M a year through 2015. No team is going to take him on.

  • Apparently it takes ~$6 million a year to have a “good, stable home”. That one year salary is more than most people make in their lifetime.

  • Britt

    When he says a “good, stable home,” he means a long term contract, so he won’t have to keep moving his family (including his 3 young children) around to different parts of the country.

  • Gotta put food on the table. And by food I mean gold encrusted strawberries.

  • David Bradford

    We’ve been desperate for a second line center for YEARS. It’s one of the main points of interest every offseason. Now we have one and we’re willing to trade him or let him escape via free agency? Unbelievable.

  • They needed that 2C to span the gap between being a Cup-contender and Cup-favorite. The team now isn’t even playoff-eligible.

  • Hockeynightincanada

    McPhee clutch as usual. You will find a majority of posters on RMNB, CSN, WaPo. and even Jaspers rink calling for top-line defensemen and a #2 center for over 6 years. How on Earth did it take so long for GMGM to finally figure one out? Now it’s not even a guarantee that we will have Ribs because the state of this team is so inconsistent.

  • signing ribiero is a bad deal, and as much as everyone likes to hate on mcphee (though personally i think he’s one of the league’s better GMs), he won’t chase a bad deal.

  • Yv

    This is one of the toughest problem to solve for Caps, GM and TL. By losing to Isles Caps didn’t help for it. If Caps somehow will finish 8th seed and play Pens, Ribs presence will help a lot, even more so, if Caps will miraculously manage to catch Jets and get 3 seed. But, just looking on standings you can see that if Jets and Rangers will collect very, very reasonable, attainable and on minimal side 50% of points they will finish with 52 and 51 points. Which will mean that Caps will have to win 11 games from remaining 15 (11-4 record!?). It is possible, but considering that, for a while, Caps playing on pace of just 5-5 of the last 10 games, it looks extremely difficult, especially if Jets and Rangers will swing one more game in their favor.

    All those signed and mentioned players have signed contracts that will end, not coincidentally, when they would be around 34-35 years old. Ribeiro is 33 and 2-3 years for maximum 5.5-6M per year seems reasonable. Everything more in years and money would be overpayment.

    I think if Caps will win next 3 games before trade deadline and gain, at-least, 1 point vs Jets and Rangers, then Caps should continue to ride Ribs and will try to resign him for reasonable contract or sadly lose him after the season. However, if Caps will not gain any points to Jets and Rangers during these 3 games, then their chances to get in playoffs would be practically zero, and they can trade whoever they want, if not sign for reasonable contract before deadline. It would be again a gamble in which Caps should decide whether to ride Ribeiro, like Semin last year, till and in playoffs and try to resign him later, or to lose low draft pick, plus probably some prospect if to trade him right away.

  • freckleface81

    He doesn’t want to have to move his kids more than he needs to in the next 10 years. He’s looking for a 5 year contract to bring him to retirement age. Then, he and his family will likely stay in whatever city he signs in for 5 years after that until the kids are in college. Can’t remember where I read that–Wash Times perhaps?
    Now, can he sign a 3 or 4-year contract? Yes. But he’d be giving up his last year or two of salary (2016 and/or 2017), unless he moves his family for a year (after moving in 2013 and 2014). Or they could live apart for a year or two.
    And yes, $5M/year is more than most of us will see in a lifetime. But still, while he’s hot and worth the money, why should he have to decide between willingly giving up on $10M or messing up his family’s living situation? He may not have to choose–and that’s what he’s going for.
    And quick arguement about the money. Again, yes, that’s more than I’ll ever see at once, but I also am not facing the extreme liklihood that my career will be over at 38. He’s got to make all the money he can now so that he never needs to bring in another paycheck, because guess what? There may never actually *be* another paycheck.

  • I hope they re-sign ribs. He’s a big help for the team. It’s going to break my heart if he gets traded! 🙁

  • Green needs to either start performing or GTFO because right now he is just a waste of Caps space…see what I did there? Oh man I am punny.

  • 28IS(still)GREAT

    You nailed it, Peter. As much as I love Ribs, at this point he’s very expensive make-up for a very ugly pig. Right guy, wrong team. (for now)

  • Forgetting about our prospects we already have?? We are pretty strong with last yrs. picks and we have good players in Hershey and across the Atlantic. Si

  • Whoops, sign Ribeiro if possible with a good 4 yr. deal but certainly talk in depth with him, he may not even want to be in Washington, in that case sell him now before tragedy strikes and we are stuck.