What should the Capitals do with Mike Ribeiro?
Ribiero is having a wonderful season. He leads the team in points (24) and assists (17) and is a big reason why Washington’s power play is in the top five of the league. But he is also an unrestricted free agent who turned 33 last month and could be looking for a raise from the $5 million he is making now. That would be a risk considering his age, especially in a year that will see the salary cap decline from $70 million to $64 million. Since the last lockout, only Saku Koivu has registered more than 50 points in each of the seasons when he was aged 33 to 35 (as of Feb. 1 in the season they played). Only five others have hit the 50-point mark twice.
Fiscal asset management suggests Ribeiro should be dealt unless the Capitals are firmly entrenched in a playoff spot at the deadline. Last year, as an unrestricted free agent, Dennis Wideman logged more than 23 minutes per game for Washington and was second on the team in points on the power play with 20. The Capitals ended up trading his negotiating rights to the Flames for a fifth-round draft pick in 2013 and impending free agent Jordan Henry, while Alex Semin brought back nothing. In a year that has a deep entry draft, Washington shouldn’t make those same mistakes and instead would be better served turning Ribeiro into futures that can help down the line.