This offseason was marked, in addition to the NHL lockout, by some big name moves. Shea Weber was nearly poached by an offer sheet; Rick Nash went to the New York Rangers; Zach Parise and Ryan Suter landed in Minnesota, and former Washington Capitals forward Alexander Semin signed with the Carolina Hurricanes. But somewhat under the radar was the acquisition of Mike Ribeiro by the Caps to fill a void at center.
The Dallas Stars parted with Mike Ribeiro this offseason in a trade for Cody Eakin and a second round pick. Dallas was likely more willing to part with Ribeiro because of his $5 million dollar cap hit and his age. Ribeiro is in the final year of a $25 million deal at age 33.
In Cody Eakin, the Stars received a young prospect with some NHL experience. Still, many consider Eakin’s ceiling to be that of a checking line center. The second round pick may prove to be the most useful part of the trade. No one could have seen the start to the season that Mike Ribeiro was going to have.
Despite the Capitals’ struggles this year, Ribeiro is off to an incredible start offensively. Through 15 games, Mike Ribeiro already has 18 points, including 13 assists. Ribeiro has produced a point in four of his last five games, and helped carry the Capitals as they’ve won three of their last four games.
Given how little the Capitals gave up to acquire Ribeiro, the trade by the Caps this offseason may prove to be the best offseason move in all of hockey. At the quarter-way mark of a shortened NHL season, it’s hard to argue otherwise.