Free agency is closing in on two weeks old and the New York Rangers are still short one center. One option the Rangers can go to fill the spot left behind by the compliance buyout of Brad Richards, if they so choose, is give it to their youth like J.T. Miller or Oscar Lindberg. Another option would be to trade for a number one center like Joe Thornton or Eric Staal, which would then move Derek Stepan to the number two center spot, and make the Rangers look a whole lot better. However, a trade for Thornton or Staal can only be possible if the San Jose Sharks or Carolina Hurricanes agree to pay a substantial amount of Thornton or Staal’s contract, which seems to be highly unlikely.
So, what should the Rangers end up doing you ask?
How about a cheap alternative number two center in Mike Ribeiro, who is still an unrestricted free agent, and is rumored to only have offers on the table from KHL teams and no NHL teams.
Of course there is a reason for this.
Ribeiro is now 34 years old and known to have “behavioral problems” with some of his former teammates and coaches, especially when he was a member of the Phoenix Coyotes last season.
Now I am not even a big fan of this guy, mostly because of his bad attitude, but if rumors are true and he does not have one single offer on the table from an NHL team, this has to be an eye opener for him. Hopefully this will get him to change his ways and the Rangers could be the team to give him another chance.
Yes, Ribeiro is 34 years old and did not have a good season with the Coyotes last year, but neither did anyone else on the team that did not have “behavioral issues.” But two seasons ago, when Ribeiro was a member of the Washington Capitals during the lockout shortened season, Ribeiro played in all 48 regular season games and recorded 49 points. And in the full 82 game season before, when he was with the Dallas Stars, Ribeiro recorded 63 points.
These point totals are the ones of a number two center, but with his year of playing and issues last season, plus not having an offer on the table from an NHL team, Ribeiro would come at a very cheap price and could prove to be the biggest steal of free agency.
In my opinion, Rangers’ GM Glen Sather should act fast and scoop up Ribeiro. What do you think?