On Tuesday, it was announced that the Nashville Predators scooped up unrestricted free agent center Mike Ribeiro on a one-year “show me” contract worth $1 million. Ribeiro, who was bought out of his contract this offseason by the now Arizona Coyotes, still has a lot left in the tank for a 34-year-old veteran, but his skill is not the problem.
The reason for Ribeiro’s buyout was strictly due to his “behavioral issues” that took place behind the scenes with coaches and teammates. Regardless of these issues, the Predators felt it was still worth the risk to take a chance on Ribeiro and sign him — something I wish the New York Rangers did.
A lot of Rangers fans are thrilled at the news of Ribeiro not signing with the Rangers, and I scratch my head and ponder as to why.
Yes, Ribeiro has those “behavioral issues”, but he recently stated and explained that his issues were due to his marital problems. I’m sure at least some Rangers fans out there can understand that. And whether you buy into Ribeiro’s explanation or not, before he recorded 49 points in 48 games during the lockout-shortened season with the Washington Capitals, and had 60, 70, and even 80-point seasons with the Dallas Stars in years prior.
Ribeiro is not only a center, but a second-line center, and with a team like the Rangers who are very weak down the middle, he would have been a good signing to help fill a serious need. If the signing does backfire and his “behavioral issues” come back into play, the Rangers could just cut him and eat his salary, as his contract is only worth $1 million over one year.
It was a risk the Rangers should have been willing to take given their situation at center, but instead it was the Predators who could end up with the biggest steal in this year’s free agency period.