What the Ribeiro injury means

FRISCO -- For a team that's lost three straight and has just one regulation win in its last 10 road games, the last thing the Stars needed was an injury to a scorer. But Mike Ribeiro will be out four to six weeks with a throat contusion suffered in the second period of Wednesday's loss to the Rangers. Ribeiro was hit -- and it appeared unintentionally from the replay -- in the neck by Chris Higgins' stick and remains in a New York hospital following a procedure to repair it.

Ribeiro led the Stars in points the last two seasons (78 last year, 83 the year before), but wasn't quite at that same pace this season. Still, it's a guy that can put the puck in the net and knows what to do with open ice. The Stars certainly didn't want to lose that type of guy right now.

Ribeiro's absence could mean more time for Mike Modano and Tom Wandell. Stars coach Marc Crawford must decide if he leaves Modano with Brenden Morrow and Jamie Benn and moves Wandell up with Steve Ott and James Neal. Or vice versa. We'll just have to see. The injury could mean wholesale changes.

I would also think Warren Peters is a prime candidate to join the club with Ribeiro out.

Here's something else to consider: What about Ribeiro's trade value?

If Ribeiro is out the full six weeks, he would not return before the Winter Olympic break. That means his first game would be March 2, the day before the NHL trade deadline. Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk said he wasn't even thinking about that, but added that Ribeiro has the reputation as a point-per-game scorer and that this is just one of those freak injuries that he should be able to return from and resume at a high level.

But would a team take a chance on him if he gets just one game in before the deadline? Does it alter how much the Stars could get in return?

Just a few things to ponder.