Speculation has grown rampant about the potential trade of Washington Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro. While the Caps have tried to retain the key cog set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, this has not produced definitive results as the April 3 NHL trade deadline looms.
Ribeiro was forced to answer the tough questions about this situation after the Caps’ 3-game winning streak was broken at home Tuesday night to the New York Islanders — well, sort of answer the questions.
“I don’t want to talk about that,” Ribeiro said following the 3-2 loss, via NHL.com. “If it’s going to happen, it is going to happen. We’ll talk obviously before the trade deadline to see where they’re at and where I’m at and we’ll go from there. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t think about that before the game or after the game.”
Ribeiro scored in the second period of this game, underlining what makes him so important to a franchise that has sought a prolific backup center to Nicklas Backstrom for years now. They have apparently found that in Ribeiro, who the Caps traded for during the 2012 NHL draft.
In this strike-shortened 2013 season, Ribeiro has totaled an impressive 35 points as the Capitals have surged back into playoff contention. He currently in the final leg of a five-year, $25 million contract.
For the moment, a franchise that has never won a Stanley Cup title must decide if it will maximize its chances in 2012 or trade for the future.