The big question when it comes to Mike Ribeiro: Should the Stars trade him?
The answer isn't an easy one. Ribeiro certainly had a roller-coaster season. He struggled at times, was hit in the throat by a stick and missed a chunk of time, yet still managed to finish the year with 19 goals and 53 points in 66 games (thanks in part to a good finish to the season).
Ribeiro, 30, certainly has some value. He can be a No. 1 center in the league, though he's not in Dallas with Brad Richards here. But Ribeiro's contract could sticking point depending on how you look at it. He's making $5 million per season through the 2012-13 season. The price tag is reasonable based on his production, but it's a long-term deal.
The question other NHL teams must ask is if they feel they can build a top line around him. To trade him, however, the Stars would likely have to take on a contract of similar value. It may be the only way they can appreciably upgrade their defense corps. So that's why trading Ribeiro makes some sense for the right deal, especially for a team that doesn't have much financial wiggle room.
Ribeiro is a very skilled player. He's improved in the faceoff circle and on defense, two areas of his game that he knew he needed to get better at. He has the ability to score goals -- he had at least 20 goals in three of the last six seasons. Ribeiro doesn't have a huge injury history. Before last year, he played in 76 or more games in five consecutive NHL seasons.
Ribeiro can certainly make things happen on the ice. He's able to get in and out of holes with ease and can create scoring chances on his own. He's a very creative player, and perhaps his best trait is his stick work. Ribeiro does things that few in the league will do. He's fun to watch.
But the Stars have depth at center, and if there's a valuable asset they can move, it's Ribeiro. The other side of the argument is that if the Stars don't think they can keep Brad Richards past next season, do they want to take the chance of losing both Ribeiro and Richards?
I'd still try to trade Ribeiro because this team needs help on defense, and that seems the most logical way to address it. What do you think?