With Mike Fisher being out the next 4-6 months, the Nashville Predators became very desperate in acquiring a center, whether it was via trade or free agency. The sign of desperation showed when Nashville signed 34-year old Mike Ribeiro to a 1-year, $1.05 million contract and Derek Roy to a 1-year, $1 million contract. When adding the contracts of Olli Jokinen, Ribeiro and Roy ($4.55 million), their contracts are lesser cap hit than Vincent Lecavalier’s ($7.7 million).
The signings make complete sense because the terms are not too long. If the terms were more than 1-year, it would not allow Colton Sissons, Calle Jarnkrok or Filip Forsberg to have an opportunity to play big minutes at center. This allows them to grow as players and be complete heading into the 2015-16 season.
On the other hand, what do these signings mean to already established centers Matt Cullen and Paul Gaustad? With an overflow of centers, there has to be a trade in the works.
“Mike is a talented veteran center who has produced offensively everywhere he has played,” Poile said in a press release. “We have done our due diligence and believe Mike has a lot to offer to our team, improves us at our center ice position and will fit in with our group and contribute.”
While the acquisition was necessary to fill a hole in the lineup, Ribeiro does have baggage. Ribeiro was bought out of a 4-year, $22 million contract with the Arizona Coyotes after one season earlier this summer. He has also had a history with the police years ago. THW’s Mike Burse took a look at Ribeiro’s discipline issues in an article last week.
In 2010, Ribeiro was arrested for public intoxication after an altercation in a restaurant while out with his wife and a pair of friends.
According to reports, a friend of Ribeiro’s engaged police in a quarrel once the party was kicked out of the establishment. The group was arrested, but posted bail shortly after being detained. In a statement released after the incident, Ribeiro downplayed the episode, saying, “it wasn’t a big thing.”
“It wasn’t a big thing,” said Ribeiro. “I wish there were cameras there and they could have seen what happened. … I just want to put that behind us today.”
Ribeiro told NHL.com in March that he is trying to change his habits.
“It starts with better decisions,” Ribeiro said. “Instead of after a game going to have beer with the boys, I’ll go home. Instead of going to bed at four in the morning, I’ll go to bed at 12 at night. I eat better, I take better care of my body … I’m just more focused not on myself, but on being there for my family and helping my team win.”
Ribeiro said that he wants to be there for his family, because wife Tamara and children Mikael, 12, Noah, 8, and Viktoria, 7, have been there for him through professional triumphs and personal challenges, helping him, “become a better person,” in the process.
“I’m obviously not perfect — I’m far from perfect — but I try not to re-do those mistakes that I made in the past, and now I can really focus on my family and my team.”
The 6’0. 180lbs center is coming off his worst season ever in the NHL. In 80 games, Ribeiro scored 47 points (16 g, 31 a). Do not let the statistical drop fool you though. Ribeiro does possess high offensive skill and in the last ten seasons, Ribeiro has totaled near-50 points (or more). Since the 2003-04 season, Ribeiro has played the 10th most games of any NHL forward.
“Derek brings us added depth, playmaking ability and experience at center, helping complement our young, developing wingers,” Poile said in a press release. “He has played in a number of roles, averaging about 19 minutes of ice time throughout his career, and is effective on the power play. He provides our coaching staff with some added skill and maturity down the middle when putting together our lineup for the coming season.”
Roy will likely not be playing top 6 minutes as it stands, which is great for the 31-year old. The Ottawa, Ontario native is known for his play-making abilities, rather than goal-scoring. Last season with the St. Louis Blues, Roy totaled 9 goals, 28 assists in 75 games. With already a year in St. Louis under his belt, Roy is prepared for the grueling year in the Central Division.
Roy is already familiar with a player in the organization. He was an assistant captain for 3 seasons in Buffalo alongside Gaustad.
Viktor Stalberg – Mike Ribeiro – James Neal
Craig Smith – Olli Jokinen – Colin Wilson
Gabriel Bourque – Derek Roy – Filip Forsberg/Colton Sissons
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Rich Clune
LW – Matt Cullen – Filip Forsberg/Colton Sissons
Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.