Ah the enigmatic Mike Ribeiro. Has there been a player more frustrating than Ribs in the past five years? He seems to float in -and-out of games and it really looks like he's playing his own game out there, separate from his teammates.
Last season, Ribeiro had one of the best seasons of his career while working second line duties. With the departure of Brad Richards, Ribeiro was promoted to first line duties this season and really had a disappointing season despite working with Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder for much of the year. He had some injury problems midway through the season and missed eight games. As a result of his injuries, his numbers were down in pretty much every single category despite getting more minutes (though it was just five more seconds per game this year). He had one less goal, seven less assists and and overall eight less points this year.
It was deeper than just numbers though. Ribeiro's 63 points this year was tied for second most on the team but it was an empty 63 points. In some of the biggest games of the season, Ribeiro was just a wandering soul on ice. In the last four games of the season (the biggest games of the year), Ribeiro got just one measly assist and I firmly believe that his turnover in a game against the Calgary Flames totally changed the season.
For those that don't remember, the Stars had a 2-1 lead midway through the second period in that game and had control of the run of play. Ribeiro was working defensive duties and had the puck along the boards. Jarome Iginla started to make his way towards Ribs for a forecheck and Ribeiro just flat out panicked. He lost his mind and fired the puck directly in front of goal where a wide open Flames forward (Blake Comeau) was waiting. Comeau scored the goal and the Flames would ride that momentum to three more second period goals to take over that game.
more after the jump
That type of play happened to Ribeiro too often this year. He just didn't make too much of a positive impact on the team (except for the six shades of sexy overtime game against the Flames) and that's the absolute worst thing that you can have from your top center (even if his position was just nominal). He had a long point streak during the Stars long winning streak and his 16 points in January were the most for any month on the team. Most of that though was because he played with Eriksson and Ryder, the team's leading scorer and goal scorer. Ribs played the first two months of the season without those two and failed to reach double digit points in each of those months. Jamie Benn he is not.
A couple of more problems from Ribs this season. He had very poor discipline and found himself with 66 PIM, the most of his career. That put him up there for fifth most on the team and that's just too much time to be without someone that should be leading the team's top line. The biggest problem I had with Ribeiro this year was his indecision and how passive he was.
He was top unit power play all season and switched between working the point and taking control down low. It was during these moments that it became apparent that Ribeiro just would not shoot the puck. It was fascinating to watch him receive a pass and immediately cycle it off to another guy, even if it looked like he had an open shot.
That really showed itself in a game against the San Jose Sharks, game 80 of the season. The Stars were working a 5-on-3 at the end of the first period and the clock was quickly running down. Ribeiro took the puck at the side of the goal with five seconds left and just stood there. I really mean that he just stood there and did absolutely nothing. He didn't attempt to shoot, pass or even look remotely like a breathing human. He stood there as the clock expired and he just left the ice. I still have no idea what he was trying to do. His struggles had a direct effect on the Stars power play, which was historically bad.
Ribeiro is 32-years-old and has one more year on his contract worth $5 million. I believe though that the Stars should look to trade Ribeiro this offseason. He really doesn't have a future with this club and I can't see any way that Dallas re-signs him after next year. Jamie Benn is set to take over as the lead guy and Ribeiro has already shown that he struggles without top scorers. There's a pretty barren market in free agency on centers this season so Ribeiro should be able to get some good looks.
For the season, Mike Ribeiro gets a B- that borders on a C+ from me. He had empty points to me and was just too ineffective.