When the Washington Capitals traded for former Dallas Stars center, Mike Ribeiro they were well aware they might only have the star forward for only one season. His five year, 25 million contract expires following the 2012-2013 regular season and he could very well test unrestricted free agency. Washington Capitals General Manager, George McPhee cannot let this happen. He traded one of their better prospects in Cody Eakin to get him and it would be a waste to have him as only a one year rental player. The chances of Ribeiro resigning with the Capitals depend on the outcome of the new CBA and most importantly if he wants to stay in Washington for the long haul.
The Capitals have a good young team moving forward, but have many long term commitments to their star players. The new collective bargaining agreement could potentially limit contracts to five years in length and also push toward lower player salaries. Both Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin are locked into contracts through the 2020 season and Brooks Laich also is earning a hefty 4.5 million per season. Capitals young defense-man, John Carlson still remains unsigned and the situation will likely not be resolved until a new CBA is agreed upon. Washington’s payroll will surely climb next off-season as Karl Alzner, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth will hit restricted free agency. Each member of this trio could receive an offer sheet from a team looking to acquire young talent. There will likely be some salary coming off the books however. Roman Hamrlik will likely be leaving Washington following the 2012-2013 season as Capitals young defense-men like Cameron Schilling and Dmitry Orlov will get an opportunity to earn significant playing time on the Capitals’ defensive corps. Troy Brouwer hits unrestricted free agency following the 2012-2013 season like Ribeiro, but could sign elsewhere. This leaves Ribeiro as a key to the Capitals offense, especially in the future.
The former Dallas Star earns five million annually on his current deal and would unlikely take a pay cut. Washington would likely have to pay at least 5.5 million anually to retain his services and Ribeiro could easily receive six million on the free agent market. He’s a great play-maker, but also can score when playing with other great forwards. The 32 year old center should easily be able to notch twenty goals playing on the second line and also earning time on the Capitals power play. Riberio’s most productive season was the 2007-2008 campaign as a member of the Dallas Stars when he registered 27 goals and 56 assists. A change of scenery and playing with star players should benefit and offensively skilled center. He is aging however and Washington should consider that when offering him a contract. He’s not the biggest guy either at only 177 pounds according to the Capitals website and that could prove to be costly for his offensive production. George McPhee should carefully offer Riberio a four year, 23 million dollar contract to retain his services in the nation’s capital. This contract offer would not break the bank and his production should be similar to his recent production even at the end of his contract. If Riberio’s camp were to say no, Washington should move on and pursue other free agents. They will have some young scorers such as Filip Forsberg and Stanislav Gailev competing for top six forward minutes in the near future and they would come at a much cheaper price.
Stay tuned to Rant Sports for any future developments on Mike Riberio’s future with the Washington Capitals.