Three Harts for the Great 8
CSNwashington.com Capitals Insider Chuck Gormley will evaluate the 2012-13 performance of each player on the Caps roster. One breakdown will occur every day in alphabetical order. Today: Mike Ribeiro
Ht/Wt: 6-0, 177
Penalty Minutes: 53
Average Ice Time: 17:50
Contract Status: Unrestricted Free Agent [$5 million cap hit in 2012-13]
Strengths: One of the most elusive centers in the game, Ribeiro is a magician with the puck and led the Caps to the best power play percentage [26.8] in the NHL in the past 23 years. Ribeiro led the NHL with 21 power-play assists and tied with Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead with 27 power-play points. Ribeiro’s flashy wardrobe and quirky personality was a refreshing change to the Capitals’ locker room and several players, including Ovechkin, said they wanted him to return next season.
Weaknesses: Ribeiro is not the most popular player among NHL referees and his 53 penalty minutes would have put him on pace for a career-high 91 in a full 82-game season. Ribeiro has been a plus player just four times in his 11-year NHL career and his lack of strength can be evident in the defensive zone.
Memorable Moment: It’s probably a good thing the Verizon Center has glass around its ice surface because on the night of May 10, Mike Ribeiro nearly vaulted himself onto the rafters after scoring the overtime game-winner in Game 5 against the Rangers to give the Caps what seemed to be a commanding 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series. “A lot of emotion,” Ribeiro said after that game, the Caps' final win of the playoffs. “The building goes nuts. I kind of jumped a few times and then I thought, ‘Geez, I’m tired of jumping. I need some water now.’ I tried to pull an Ovi there.” In the final two games of the series Ribeiro recorded five shots, no points and was a minus-4 in back-to-back losses in which the Caps were outscored 6-0.
2013-14 Expectations: Clearly, the biggest offseason decision for the Caps is whether to sign Ribeiro or let him become a free agent on July 5. Ribeiro has said he wants a four- or five-year deal, presumably in the $4.5 million to $5 million per year range, that will allow him to retire in D.C. The Caps presumably would like to go no longer than three years and keep Ribeiro’s cap hit in the $4 million range. To make room for Ribeiro’s salary the Caps likely would need to use amnesty buyouts and/or trades and that could mean parting with Marty Erat. If the Caps decide to go in another direction, Ribeiro could have his contract demands met in the open market.