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The Rangers should avoid veterans like Ribeiro

(Winslow Townson/Associated Press)

(Winslow Townson/Associated Press)

This week Dave has already touched on Mike Ribeiro as a free agent possibility. He certainly makes for an appealing candidate who has had a productive career. I’m going to discuss why the Rangers should stay well clear of players like Ribeiro.

Once again the Rangers will likely have a hole in the middle of their line-up this offseason. If speculation is true and Brad Richards is to be bought out this summer, the Rangers will have plenty of cap space to play with. While they have to address their own roster first (McDonagh, Stepan, Zuccarello, maybe Clowe, etc) there should be some money with which to enter the free agent market. This is where it gets dicey.

With Derick Brassard emerging after his late season move to the Rangers, and Derek Stepan starting to look like an All Star centerman, the Rangers don’t necessarily need a center for the top two lines (this is where I disagree with Dave), but speculation remains that they have an interest in Mike Ribeiro from the Capitals. On the face of things it makes some sense.

The Rangers do need more skill, which Ribeiro certainly has, they need a miracle to help the powerplay, and they need more depth down the middle – Brassard and Stepan alone won’t cut it against the East’s elite. The problems however begin to surface when you consider supply and demand (an apparent weak free agent market), Ribeiro’s age and one season aside, and his underwhelming playoff résumé.

The Rangers are in a tricky situation and cannot afford to throw significant cap at players like Ribeiro. They cannot make another gigantic free agency mistake. While the Rangers roster has a nice look to it, it does need some changes made, and a player such as Ribeiro – or another aging veteran looking for a long commitment – simply is the wrong way to go.

A point per game player as a Capital this year, Ribeiro has been a fine playmaking center for both the Caps and the Dallas Stars. That said, he has always benefited from his line mates and the presence of another strong center (Brad Richards, Nicklas Backstrom). It’s too early in Stepan and Brassard’s development to expect them to create consistent mismatches for Ribeiro to be able to take advantage.

The real concern regarding Ribeiro are with his demands.  According to recent reports, Ribeiro will hit free agency because he’s not happy with what the Caps can afford. As Dave pointed out, he’s already on a $5m cap hit. Can the Rangers really afford to give another 33-year-old a significant commitment? Will the Richards disaster (and Drury, and Gomez, and Redden…) be enough of a warning not to over commit to another aging player? It should be.

In addition to Ribiero, the Rangers should also be avoiding other tempting free agents like Mark Streit andPatrick Elias. They should avoid any player that resembles a player past his prime. This team needs to be careful with their investments this summer and make some careful decisions.

So much of the Ribeiro situation reeks of the Brad Richards scenario: In his early thirties, not great defensively, powerplay specialist, entering free agency following a fine year, and looking for a major commitment from whoever becomes his new employer. The Rangers neutralised Ribeiro this post season, as they did with almost every Capital. He’s not a difference maker who deserves the commitment he’ll likely demand. While he’s a good player, the Rangers need to stop making the same mistakes in free agency and avoid players such as Mike Ribeiro and other aging veterans.

28 Responses to “The Rangers should avoid veterans like Ribeiro”

  1. cv19 says:

    As I said yesterday, NHLers start losing it in their early thirties. Ribiero,no!
    Commit to Miller as your third line center with Brassard as your second line guy. By year’s end it will be reversed. The learning curve for Miller will not be steep. He’s cut from the same mold as Stepan. Great instincts and smarts.

    • Joe B says:

      Agreed. Let’s use what we have as we need to build up the youth/talent we certainly have and for God’s sake, strenghten confidence not destroy it. I liked Tort’s a lot but those comments made against Hagelin were way out of line!!

    • @NYRFan_RF says:

      I agree. Stay away from old players from other teams. These big contracts they get only come back to bite at some point. Even if he gives a couple good years, he’s likely looking for 5 years and 5-6 per. No thanks.
      From what I saw from Miller this year, he looked a full camp away from becoming a solid 2 way pivot in the NHL. If the Rangers feel he might need more time in the AHL or he’s not quite ready for full time as a center. Then sign a younger Cheeper option as a 3rd Center. Add depth in the event of injuries. A guy they could grab in Free Agency is Ryder. He has signed a few 1-2 year deals the last 4 years. No reason he wouldn’t do the same here. He scores 30 quietly every year and probably will be the cheapest 30 goals Sather and the Rangers ever paid for. Aside from that the Rangers have DZ as a trade chip and will probably knock on some doors about a deal for him with the way Moore played. I would like to see them improve through the draft.

  2. Randy says:

    I agree that the Rangers definitely should steer clear of guys like Ribeiro, Elias, and Streit. If the Rangers do decide to make a move on one of them, Streit would be the only exception I would be willing to make just because he has proven himself as a strong PP QB with a hard, low shot that gets through (something the NYR have not had).

    I think that the Rangers should try and bring back as much of this year’s roster as they can, and this means keeping Clowe. The problem this year was that the team didn’t have much time to gel like the team did the season before that. Instead of bringing in old, over-the-hill free agents, it is time to start bringing in some of these prospects that we have been grooming (Miller, Kreider, Fast, Lindberg, Thomas, McIlrath) and letting them play and find their bearings in the NHL.

    Assuming Hags and Cally miss some time at the beginning of the season, I would like to see this for the lines:

    Kreider-Stepan-Nash
    Zuccarello-Brassard-Clowe
    Fast-Miller-Dorsett
    Asham-Boyle-Powe

    Girardi-McD
    Staal-Stralman
    MDZ-Moore

    It is much smarter to give guys time to gel and gain some chemistry, especially under a new coach, then it is to go out and buy another Richards/Drury/Redden failure. Keep the money for the kids to earn in their next contracts.

    • Tim B says:

      I would sign Elias & Streit to 1 year deals. Not 2 year deals like Pyatt, Asham etc

      • Zen says:

        Streit will get a long term deal somewhere… paying him way more money than we would want to.

  3. Chris says:

    The difficulty the Rangers have right now is getting the balance right. Yes, they need to keep feeding the young prospects on to the roster but they need/want to contend while they have truly elite players such as Lundqvist and Nash, and emerging stars like Stepan, McDonagh etc. The window wont be open eternally. It’s not win now mode but they need to begin to make a play.

  4. Spozo says:

    Your assessment of the lack of center depth is really the only reason I could see the team not buying out Richards. I’m not saying they won’t or shouldn’t do it but they get awfully thin if they dump Richards. Stepan looks like the real deal but Brassard is really an unknown. Sure he was hot when the rangers acquired him but really he had a great month and a half and you can’t automatically pencil him in as a full time #2. Buying Richards out also means Boyle is cemented as the #3, a scenario that no one pictures as ideal.

    I’m not saying they shouldn’t buy the guy out but I could see a scenario where they keep him another year in order to let Brassard develop and show he can be a consistent 2nd line center man on a Stanley cup contender. If they do buy him out they will need to shop for another center.

    Either way this team has a lot of questions that need to be addressed this offseason.

    • Zen says:

      The team IS going to buy out Richards.

      • Spozo says:

        Well that’s why I said “I’m not saying they shouldn’t buy him out”.

        The whole point of my post is that with Richards gone the will be awfully thin down the middle. I thought it wasn’t too confusing…….

  5. TxRanger says:

    we only need to sign 3rd and 4th line guys this year. someone who can feed the puck like brassard has no business on the 3rd line.

    • Jackson says:

      I’m glad to see someone else around here who sees Brass as a very solid 2nd line center. A common opinion seems to be that he needs to be our 3rd. I don’t see it that way.

  6. The Suit says:

    If the Rangers sign Riberio I’m hanging ‘em up. I won’t waste anymore of my time analyzing this team.

    • Zen says:

      Agreed.

    • Joe says:

      Settle down Suit, You love the Crest, remember. Torts is gone , move on!

      • The Suit says:

        Haha Joe. You’ve said far worse things about Torts than I said about Ribs and you’re telling me to settle down? Psssh.

        • Joe says:

          aahhhh bringing up the past? Just remember I was right about Torts! LOL, come on Suit, get on board, the train is moving forward. I hope the Rangers do not sign him either, but if they do, I certainly do not want to lose your analysis of the Rangers, that would be a real detriment to this Blog, no offense to the others.

    • Walt says:

      Suit

      We agree, horay!!!!!!

  7. Rangers Fan in Boston says:

    What the Rangers should be concerned with is creating depth and competition for camp. As much as we all like Miller, as Dave mentioned yesterday, you shouldn’t just hand him a spot on the team (see Kreider, Chris). There needs to be healthy competition. Make players earn it.

    This means signing a handful of players to short deals (I mentioned Tyler Bozak, Derek Roy in a previous post for possible centermen on short deals).

    Use the NY Giants model of trying to create competition whereever possible. It brings the best out of players.

    • Zen says:

      Makes sense, but you aren’t getting the guys you would like on 1 year deals.

      • Rangers Fan in Boston says:

        I bet you can get Derek Roy one a one year deal. A guy like Bozak may be possible for a 2 (or 3 if the money’s right) year deal.

        But you’re right for the most part, but we’re also not talking superstars here. In what should be a depressed market for mid-tier players due to the reduced cap, there should be some players worth bringing in on one year deals.

        The Rangers NEED center depth.

        • Erixon20 says:

          They do need depth at center, but I don’t think it has to be a marquee name. Step and Brass are 1 and 2, which is fine. Boyle would be best at 4th, and not sure if JT can handle 3rd line duties next year…soon enough, yes, but next year is a tall order. And Newbury is a capable call up…a good bottom 6 soldier when needed. So grab a bottom 6 Center and a top 6 winger and we’re much improved from last year. And hopefully resign Clowe if he doesn’t expect a raise or massive years. I’ll say it again: Zucc and MDZ for Big Buff!

  8. Mikeyyy says:

    Commit to youth and yourmfuturemwill be bright.

    Commit to win this year, and it all,falls apart.

  9. Seahorse says:

    The cap reduction is gonna kill the best laid plans of mice & men. Salary dumps all around could be better off gettin a steal that way I think bozak is out and Roy will be a hot commodity. Even with the buy out which will happen absolutely cause of the cap it’ll be hard to sign anyone

  10. Tim B says:

    Rangers need to sign guys to short term deals. Long deals always seem to backfire. Even 2 year deals are pretty bad. They need more 1 year deals

  11. rwa says:

    Getting back to Richards buyout, it has to be done now. Can’t do it next year if he is injured, and then Redden’s contract failure will look small compared to Richard’s. Can’t take that chance.

  12. Seahorse says:

    conservative estimate on salary cap situation.
    current = 54.1 mil
    – Richards 6.67
    + Stepan 4.5
    + Hagelin 3
    + Zucc 2
    + Clowe 3
    + Mcdonagh 4.5
    Total 61.43 mil
    cap space 2.87

    thats about one free agent cause that doesnt include jt miller. the math screams buyout

  13. Frank Cerbone says:

    Bogosian & his minus 42 is no coming to the Rangers. Besides, his resume in winning fights is limited to Dominic Moore & Ryan Callahan

    UFAs Bryan Bickell or David Clarkson re options

    Moving McDonough over to the power play makes sense if Rangers get a young, right handed, physical, defensive, defenseman ie Travis Hamonic of the islanders.

    Looking for a young, right handed offensive defenseman, ie. Justin Faulk of Carolina

    Looking for heavyweight tough guys on the cheap, ie. Dylan Mcilrath & Brandon Mashinter (both 6-4, both 22 lbs)

    Get PM machine, poor fighter Dorsett get out of town. Both Asham & Haley are better choices as middlewights