Of all the players eligible to test the unrestricted free agent market this summer, no one recorded as many points as Washington Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro. It’s not even close.
Capitals coach Adam Oates felt Ribeiro’s contributions were “huge” this season, but they might have to do without him all the same.
With a month left before the start of the free agent period, Riberio’s agent Don Meehan said that “there really aren’t any updates” as far as contract negotiations go, according to CSN Washington.
As much as Washington would like Ribeiro back, it’s not hard to see why he might be wearing a different jersey next season. With the salary cap going down to $64.3 million, the Capitals are in a cap crunch.
They still have to deal with restricted free agents Marcus Johansson and Karl Alzner. Washington will likely get some relief by trading or buying out the final season of defenseman Jeff Schultz four-year, $11 million deal, but even that won’t be enough to get Ribeiro under the cap, based on CSN Washington’s projections.
The Capitals might have to resort to shipping off another player, like forward Martin Erat ($4.5 million cap hit) just to make a Ribeiro deal work. Perhaps Washington will find a creative way to retain Ribeiro, but for now it sounds like the negotiations aren’t progressing.