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Potential UFA target: Mike Ribiero

(Photo: Scott Levy)

(Photo: Scott Levy)

The Rangers have a depth problem. That was very evident in the series against the Bruins, and was exacerbated by the fact that Brad Richards wound up as a healthy scratch. With a Richards buyout imminent, the Rangers are left with a thin lineup down the middle in Derek Stepan, Derick Brassard, Brian Boyle, and Darroll Powe. Stepan is clearly entrenched as the #1 center going forward, and it appears that Brassard is better off as the #3 (Boyle as the #4, Powe to wing). The gap here, which solves the depth issue, is a #2 center that is capable of igniting the secondary scoring.

The list of UFA centers this year is very thin, with only a few names standing out as even potential candidates to fill the position from the outside. Mike Ribiero is someone who was linked to the Rangers before the Caps went on their run to win the Southeast Division, and he is still a candidate to fill the #2 center hole. Ribiero averages roughly 60 points per season, which is what is expected from a second line center. The big questions are about how he would fit into the organization’s current mold of north-south hockey, and if the new coach would be able to get the most out of the 33-year-old center.

Ribiero has quietly built himself a solid NHL career, and has managed to put up a minimum of 50 points a season since establishing himself as a top-six center in the 2003-2004 season. Quietly consistent, Ribiero has worked with numerous teams (Montreal, Dallas, Washington) and a plethora of linemates but has still managed to put up 397 points since 2007-2008 (428 games). That averages out to 0.93 points per game over the course of six seasons, good for 19th in the league in that stretch with over 300 games played.

The concern with Ribiero lies within the underlying metrics. This year he was relatively atrocious when it came to driving puck possession, which is odd considering how consistent he has been offensively. This season with Washington, he finished with a -10.3 RCorsi, despite facing minimal competition (-.031 Corsi Rel QoC). Those numbers do not show someone who maintains puck possession and pins the opposition in the defensive zone.

In terms of cost, Ribiero earned $5 million last season, and is likely to earn around the same amount of money this season. Since the cap is going down, it’s unlikely he would see a raise, despite averaging over a point per game this past season. This is the one season where UFA price is tough to predict, so assume the minimum Ribiero would cost is two years at $10 million total.

In a Torts system, Ribiero might not be the best fit. He’s not a north-south guy, and he’s more creative than he is grind-it-out. But this isn’t a Torts team anymore, despite the fact that this team was built to fit Torts’ systems. The biggest factor here will be the new head coach and how he will want this team to play. If they stay with the Torts north-south game, than Ribiero –despite his impressive offensive totals– might not be the best fit. If they go with an Alain Vigneault –and his 1-2-2 and less focus on grinding– then Ribiero might be a good pivot between any combination of top-six wingers the Rangers can throw out there.

22 Responses to “Potential UFA target: Mike Ribiero”

  1. Bayman says:

    Can we just say ‘no’ to high-priced, mid-30’s FA’s? Haven’t we learned our lesson yet?

    • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

      Agreed. Someone like 27 year old Tyler Bozak on a 2-3 year deal for reasonable money. Or a one year make good contract with Derek Roy. Keep the commitments short.

      • Walt says:

        Good choices, this guy is too old for me. Look we will see a kid who led the Swedish Elite Lg. in scoring, plays sound defense, and is fast on his skates. I think Lindberg will be a great choice for our 3rd line, with Brass being our second line certer. Stay away from these relics!!!

        • @NYRFan_RF says:

          I like that picture. I just don’t know the Rangers brass share our vision. I also have to believe Miller will have 1st dibs on any full time Center positions avaliable. The organization might view him as a winger though from what little they saw from him. It’d be nice to see Lindburg get a shot at least in next years camp. It depends on who gets the head coaching position. I was hoping this would be the year we see McIllrath ready too but the knee injury set him back and now I hear he’s not quite up to par with his skating.

      • @NYRFan_RF says:

        Ribiero is way too soft for NY and at his age he isn’t changing his game anytime soon. Bozak might be a good 3rd liner. I think Stepan and Brassard are better than he is. Roy too, I wouldn’t want him for more than 3rd line money. He had a horrid time in Vancouver so he might come on the cheap but he was a huge disapointment. If they don’t decide to buyout Richards, they can fill a Center from within the organization with say Miller, Lindburg, or even Jean might be a good choice. The kid hasn’t light the scoresheet but at a little over 200 lbs Jean may be a good choice as a 3rd or 4th Center. Sometimes kids get a shot at the NHL and play above expectations.

  2. howiehockey says:

    Come Amateur Draft day on 7/1 and UFA day on 7/15 there’s going to be quite a bit of player movement. More than is usually the norm will take place as aresult of Amnesty Buyouts allowed under the new CBA.
    I’ll venture a guess that Lecavalier, Hossa and Heatly as well as Richards will be amongst the top players bought out in 2013.
    More than likely those players could be signed for
    under $4Mill/Per and for a max of 3 yrs.
    The above listed players are but a few of the possible offensive player (wingers/centers) 2013 buyouts.

    • Pete says:

      I’m also very curious about the buy-out situation, maybe the team will add some cheap vet(s) for scoring depth. One can hope anyway…

  3. Ticticticboom says:

    I hate the way Ribiero plays. Dirty cheap hockey.

  4. Harvey says:

    Can anyone say Miller? With Torts gone, this kid can finally show his stuff!

    • Walt says:

      Harvey

      Good choice, I forgot the kid. We have home grown kids that we should look at seriousily, rather than guys who will crap out in no time. By the way, if this dirty clown is so good, why aren’t the Caps trying to re-sign him???

  5. Staten Island says:

    T MILLER and OSCAR LINDBERG……..what the hell is wrong with everybody……Open your Eyes, Miller & Lindberg will both be Great Players with the Rangers for many Years….Unless they get traded, Dont do it Sather ! ! !

    • Dave says:

      So we are just gifting roster spots to kids now? We aren’t making them earn it?

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        Exactly. This is where you get in trouble. Depth also means competition. There needs to be healthy competition in camp between rookies and vets for spots.

      • HARLEMBLUES says:

        What has any of these mid- 30’s,on the downside, over priced,looking for that last big payday FA earned in a RANGER SWEATER nothing.Lindberg and Miller have earned the right to compete for a spot.Who said anything about gift wrapping.

      • supermaz says:

        What else do these guys have left to do at the lower levels?…
        Is this you Torts ?

  6. ASFJR says:

    I read somewhere that Ribeiro was looking for a 4 or 5 year deal…..there is no one in this UFA class worth that commitment…2 years/$8 mill would work, but I’m sure someone will top that.

    As someone else mentioned I would look at Bozak, with the idea of making Brassard the #2, or maybe Maxim Lapierre.

    It would be nice if they could pry Steve Ott away from Buffalo. He’d fit as a 3rd line Center, but is also versatile ebough to play the wing if Miller or Lindberg win a spot out of camp. He can kill penalties, he’s had some PP success, and most importantly he would bring a level of nastiness that they need

  7. george says:

    I feel Brassard could be the 2nd line Center. Has enough skill and produced well enough during his time as a Rangers.

    JT MIller could slot in as the 3rd line Center (if ready) and have Boyle as the 4th.

  8. HARLEMBLUES says:

    Say no to Ribiero.

  9. Tim B says:

    Last 3 big name Centers the rangers signed:
    Richards, Gomez, Drury

    Last 3 centers they traded for:
    Brassard, Powe, Boyle

    They are better off trading for a center.
    Look at years past and see the centers the Rangers acquired:
    Straka & Nylander. Slats needs players like them.

  10. Bloomer says:

    I say wait till training camp and see what Miller and Lindberg can do. What the Rangers don’t need is an over the hill prima donna like Riberio.

    • supermaz says:

      We all seem to agree on Riberio, hopefully Sather has learned from his mistakes.