The Washington Capitals have gone from a team headed towards a monumental disappointment to a team looking like a serious threat for a Stanley Cup title. There are a number of factors in their recent success, from Alex Ovechkin all the way back to Braden Holtby.
In addition to some of the big names that grace this roster, the Capitals may have made the best acquisition of last summer, when they acquired Mike Ribeiro. Despite trade rumors that swirled around him at the deadline, he stuck around. It’s worked out well so far for the Caps.
Ribeiro had an absolutely fantastic season for the Capitals, probably better than anyone could have expected. He was one of their only sources of consistency on offense, even when that early slump threatened to dash Washington’s playoff hopes in the first two months of the year.
He’s proven to be an excellent playmaker for the second line, giving the Caps an excellent 1-2 punch down the middle, along with Nicklas Backstrom. He finished second on the club in scoring, trailing only Rocket Richard winner Alex Ovechkin.
Ribeiro finished the regular season with 49 points, 36 of which came via helpers. He proved to be an excellent weapon on the Caps’ sixth ranked power play. Of his 49 points, 27 of them came with Washington on the man advantage, 21 being assists.
If there’s on area that Ribeiro struggled in, it was at the dot. He won just 45 percent of his draws, which was actually an improvement on his percentage in the previous season. Still not the type of percentage you want from your second line center.
Nonetheless, Ribeiro has been a tremendous part of the Caps’ success this season. With their need for a top six center, Ribeiro was the right man for the job. He’s been terrific for them and could end up being part of their solution for the long term, if they choose to bring him back this summer.
If the Capitals are able to shake their playoff demons this spring and finally hoist the Stanley Cup, Ribeiro will be a large part of why and how they were able to do so.