Mike Ribeiro was already on the record as wanting a long-term contract — “five years for me is long term” — from the Washington Capitals.
Today, two days after the Caps were eliminated from the playoffs, the 33-year-old center who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer was asked once more about his plans.
“I have a family and have to make the right decision for them, and for the team, too. If I stay here, I want to have a chance to win,” said Ribeiro, per the Washington Post. “You can’t just re-sign me and then have the same kind of team. You want to improve your team. …
“That’s why it’s important to talk to them and know what they’re thinking and want to do, and then from there fit me into that.”
Ribeiro had 13 goals and 36 assists during the regular season. His 49 points were the second most, behind Alex Ovechkin’s 56, on the Caps and tied for 10th overall in the NHL.
No other pending UFA had as many points as Ribeiro.
Other pending UFA centers include Patrik Elias, Tyler Bozak, and Derek Roy.
Certainly there’s more demand than supply when it comes to top centers — a good thing for Ribeiro, but potentially problematic for the Caps if they want him back. (Which head coach Adam Oates does.)
Washington general manager George McPhee would likely prefer to give Ribeiro a two- to three-year commitment, as opposed to one that would take the player into his late 30’s.
Ribeiro’s expiring contract was for five years and $25 million ($5 million cap hit).