The Hockey Writers Nashville Predators staff writer Colin Fitts will evaluate the performance of each player on the 2014-15 Predators roster every weekday in alphabetical order. You can follow Colin on Twitter, @FittsTHW.
Height/Weight: 6-foot, 177 lbs
Stat Line: 82 GP, 15 G, 47 A, 62 PTS, +11 plus/minus, 52 PIM, 42 hits, 19 blocked shots, 43.2% face-off, 18:44 AVG TOI
Playoffs Stat Line: 6 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 PTS, +2 plus/minus, 4 PIM, 16 hits, 1 blocked shot, 45.8% face-off, 23:21 AVG TOI
*Points at Home vs Away: Home – 9 G, 24 A | Away – 6 G, 23 A
*Face-off percentage Home vs Away: Home – 45.1% | Away – 40.4%
*Giveaway/Takeaway Correlation: 47 giveaways, 33 takeaways
Contract Status: Unrestricted free agent ($1.05 million cap hit in 2014-15)
Highlight of the Year: There was not a more satisfying goal for Mike Ribeiro last season than scoring against his former team, the Arizona Coyotes, who cut him last offseason. Ribeiro’s perfect tic-tac-toe goal on a 3-on-1 rush helped the Predators to a 4-3 shootout win on October 21, 2014.
Strengths: Ribeiro ranks as one of the better passers in the NHL today. With 47 assists, Ribeiro set a franchise record for most assists recorded for a center, and he ranked in the top 15 among all players last season. With 36 even strength assists, he placed tied for third among all players. Ribeiro also possesses great mental toughness. Despite having to deal with accusations of assaulting his former nanny in Texas, Ribeiro had the second highest point total on the Preds (62). As the team’s first line center, he logged the highest average time on ice per game (18:44).
Weaknesses: Though Ribeiro is an excellent play-maker and was “Mr. Reliable” for Nashville offensively, he struggled in one of the most crucial areas for a center: the face-off dot. His 43.2% face-off winning percentage was the lowest on the team for those who took over 200 draws. It is not ideal for a team to have its top-line center be mediocre in the face-off circle, which is a cause for concern for the Predators up the middle.
What to Expect Next Season: Nearing mid-June, the Predators and Ribeiro have yet to strike a new deal. According to his agent Don Meehan, Ribeiro is seeking a return to Nashville but only under a multi-year contract. It would be extremely shocking if Ribeiro does not re-sign with the Preds in the coming weeks. Whether Ribeiro stays in Nashville or not, since he is going to get a pay raise, his expectations will be higher in 2015-16. He is capable of hitting the 70-point mark, which he has not done since he was with the Dallas Stars in 2010-11.
Look for Ribeiro to hit the 20-goal and 50-assist marks next season.
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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.