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.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.