Mike Ribeiro to the Wild makes sense for both teams

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Ribeiro.jpgThis isn’t a rumor. This isn’t blind speculation on a trade that is “in the works.” This is merely analysis of a potential trade that would make sense between two teams.

Get used to this, as we gear up for the NHL Draft next weekend and
then NHL free agency right after that. As teams jockey for space under
the salary cap we’re likely to see more trades than normal at this time
of the year, especially considering how dire this free agent class is
outside of the goaltenders.

There are a few names that keep being
brought up, including Tomas Kaberle, Jason Spezza, Kris Versteeg and
Nathan Horton. Another name that has been mentioned, but not as
prominently, is Dallas center Mike Ribeiro.

Ribeiro has been great
for the Stars since the team acquired him in one of the most lopsided
trades in recent history but with the team facing payroll restrictions
and looking to move in a new direction under Marc Crawford, Ribeiro has
become expendable.

Ribeiro enjoyed another productive season last
year, but it was evident that he just isn’t a good fit in the system
that Crawford is hoping to put in place in Dallas. The Stars were caught
between being an aggressive offensive team last season that pushes the
pace of the game and a team that wants to slow down and keep the game in
one half of the ice. The result was a wholly inconsistent team, and
Ribeiro was right at the center of the Stars’ struggles.

While the
Stars were looking to push the pace of the game, Ribeiro prefers to
slow the game down. Watching the team in person a number of times last
season it was apparent just how much Ribeiro stuck out in Crawford’s
system. This isn’t to say that Ribeiro has lost a step or is struggling
offensively — he’s still a great talent with the puck — but he just
doesn’t appear to fit what the Stars are hoping to build moving forward.
And the Stars are desperate for defensive help.

With Jamie
Benn emerging as a game-changing center, and with Brad Richards likely
to stay, the Stars have the chance to move Ribeiro in order to get some
much needed defensive help and to ease up on payroll. Ribeiro has three
seasons left on his contract at $5 million per season, and there are a
couple of options that might give the Stars the chance to bolster the
blue line without taking on extra salary.

Jim
Matheson of the Edmonton Journal
suggests that the Minnesota Wild
are putting defenseman Brent Burns on the market while on the lookout
for a top line center. A trade that would sway Ribeiro and Burns would
make sense for both sides, as the Stars would gain a talented defenseman
and free up salary while the Wild would get the top center they
desperately need.

The Wild are moving in a new directions
themselves, hoping to bust out of the defensive system they were in
under Jacques Lemaire. Ribeiro would give the Wild an instant boost on
offense and they have the cap space to make the move.

It’s also not a guarantee that Burns would be the one that is traded. The Wild also have Nick Shultz and Cam Barker, who would also be valuable to the Stars in improving their blue line while clearing up salary on the payroll.

There’s
nothing that says that these teams have been talking, although it’s
known around the league that Dallas could be actively shopping Ribeiro.
This would be a great fit for both teams, depending on the other parts
that could be involved in a trade. There are other options for both
teams, since the Flyers will likely have Carter on the market as well,
although the Wild won’t have the pieces the Flyers need.

The
Stars need defensemen and the Wild need a center. It fits.

As always, all salary numbers come from CapGeek.com.

WATCH LIVE: Philadelphia Flyers at Pittsburgh Penguins

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Yes, the Philadelphia Flyers’ playoff hopes are basically squashed, but Sunday should provide plenty of motivation: giving the Pittsburgh Penguins grief.

The two rivals will face off on NBCSN tonight with the Penguins hoping to improve their situation in the three-team Metropolitan race for the division crown (and, failing that, at least one round of home-ice advantage).

The Penguins must fight injuries and a cross-state rival. There should be plenty of talent on the ice, too, so this should be a fun one.

You can watch on NBCSN, online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.

Video: Doc Emrick takes a look back at Joe Louis Arena memories

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Sunday’s overtime win against the Wild wasn’t the last hurrah for the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena, but that time is rapidly approaching.

The Red Wings have four more dates at the historic building:

April 1: vs. Maple Leafs
April 3: vs. Senators
April 8: vs. Canadiens
April 9: vs. Devils

With the playoffs out of reach, Red Wings fans must grapple with the end of an era.

To help with that cause, Mike “Doc” Emrick narrated a great look back at Joe Louis Arena, which you can enjoy in the video above.

And, if it helps make the future look a little rosier, take a look at highlights from Sunday’s victory.

Goalie nods: Henrik Lundqvist returns for Rangers

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After missing nearly three weeks due to a lower body injury, Henrik Lundqvist will be back in net for the New York Rangers on Sunday night when the team visits the Anaheim Ducks.

Coach Alain Vigneault already said that Lundqvist is expected to start two of the three games on this west coast trip, and after Antti Raanta started and recorded the shutout in Los Angeles on Saturday night it seems that Lundqvist will finish the trip with starts against the Ducks and then again on Tuesday against the San Jose Sharks.

Lundqvist has not played since March 7 when he stopped 43 out of 45 shots in a win over the Florida Panthers.

It was that game that Lundqvist suffered the injury that kept him out of the lineup.

Raanta played every game for the Rangers during his absence and continued what has been a strong season as Lundqvist’s primary backup, but if the Rangers are going to have a chance in the postseason they are not only going to need a healthy Lundqvist, but to also have him playing at the level he has been playing at over the past couple of months. Since the beginning of February Lundqvist has recorded a .931 save percentage in his 14 appearances for the Rangers.

Speaking of the postseason, the Rangers can clinch a spot in the playoffs on Sunday night with a win over the Ducks.

No official word from the Ducks on their starter on Sunday, but look for Jonathan Bernier to get an opportunity to continue his recent hot streak.

Elsewhere on Sunday…

— It was Devan Dubnyk going against Jimmy Howard in the early NBC game between the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings.

Keith Kinkaid gets the start at home for the New Jersey Devils when they go against the Dallas Stars, who will be countering with Kari Lehtonen.

Matt Murray goes for the Pittsburgh Penguins when they host their cross-state rivals the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers went with Michal Neuvirth on Saturday so look for Steve Mason on Sunday.

Michael Hutchinson will be in net for the Winnipeg Jets when they host the Vancouver Canucks. The Canucks have not announced their starter, but after Richard Bachman got the start on Saturday it should be Ryan Miller in net for this one.

Wild’s struggles continue with OT loss to Red Wings

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Well, the good news for the Minnesota Wild is Sunday’s game in Detroit wasn’t anywhere near as embarrassing as their game on Saturday. They were at least competitive in this and took the game to overtime to earn a point in the standings.

The bad news is the result was pretty much the same — another loss in the standings.

Thanks to Andreas Athanasiou‘s 17th goal of the season 1:52 into the overtime period, the Red Wings were 3-2 winners on Sunday afternoon, sending the Wild to their 11th loss in 14 games this month.

The game continues Minnesota’s late-season collapse that has seen the team lose its stranglehold on the Central Division and play some of its worst hockey of the season with the playoffs just around the corner. They have collected just seven out of a possible 28 points in the standings this month and still sit seven points back of the Chicago Blackhawks for the top spot in the division after Sunday. The Wild led the division by five points at the start of the month.

As bad as another loss is, this was far from the Wild’s worst game during this recent stretch. They limited Detroit to just 19 shots on goal, they had their chances to win it. But at the end of the day nobody in Minnesota wants to hear that right now because it’s still a loss, and it still looks like a team that is struggling to find answers on the ice. Not really the type of thing you want to see at this time of year.

Minnesota actually entered the third period with a 2-1 lead but let it slip away early in the period on a Tomas Tatar power play goal 55 seconds in. The Wild had their share of chances late in the game only to have Jimmy Howard make a couple of huge stops on Eric Staal and Jason Zucker in the final minute.

Staal did score his 26th goal of the season earlier in the game to give the Wild a 1-0 lead.

As for the Red Wings, the win is their fourth in their past six games (and the fifth with at least a point during that stretch) while Henrik Zetterberg continued his recent strong play recording another assist.

Defenseman Mike Green also scored in the win.