bigtill2002 and I are in a debate further down the board about the state of the Dallas Stars but he asked me who I thought the Stars should target as far as defensemen so possible deals for Ribiero and/or bringing in someone should they shed salary seemed like a whole different discussion. One everyone should comment on.
I can't say for sure what kind of value Mike Ribiero has around the league. Supposedly the length of his contract is an impediment to some. Others don't wish to deal with his off ice issues and since I don't know the details of whatever has him on the outs with the team I won't speculate here but it seems pretty obvious that Nieuwendyk and company want to move him. The notion of using him to bring back a defensemen or clear up money to sign a defenseman is certainly defensible. He doesn't fit the system like Richards. He makes more money than Morrow or Robidas and he doesn't have an NTC to worry about. So who needs a center?
Los Angles (?)
Ottawa (if they move Spezza like he wants)
Of that list, some teams can be scratched from the get go. Be it his history, his off the ice issues, his contract or whatever Minnesota has said repeatedly they're not interested. Michael Russo, the Wild beat writer is very plugged into their management and has shot down any inkling of a Ribiero to Minnesota trade despite the fact that they desperately need a center.
Florida seems to be going younger and Ribiero at age 30 can't be a good fit for them. Mathias will be given every opportunity to grow into a top six center role and Mike would make that team better than they probably want to be for the next year or so.
Ottawa is only a possibility if they move Spezza. There was a twitter rumor of a deal with Ribiero and Glennie going to Ottawa for Spezza and they flat out said no. I'm sure other parts were involved but the number of teams who are willing to take on his 7 million dollar cap hit, and 8 million dollar actual salary cannot be many. Spezza may want to leave but I'm becoming skeptical it actually happens.
The NYR would prefer Brad Richards. Most of the league would too but they're tight to the cap already and unfortunately the one piece I'd like to see come back Bobby Sanguinetti has been traded to Carolina. Any deal with New York probably has Michael Roszival coming back and I have to imagine by now that Dallas has no interest because I have no doubt an offer has been on the table. Without Staal, McDonagh, or Micheal Del Zotto, Ribs to the Rangers should be dead.
To take the next step forward Los Angles needs someone better than Stoll as their 2nd line center. Jarrett Stoll's best season in the NHL was five years ago with Edmonton when he scored 68 points. He's an excellent all around, defensively repsonsible center who's paid too much money for what he brings to the ice. Michal Handzus is basically the same player making 4 million for only one more year but has a NMC in his contract. The Kings need to be better here but Brayden Schenn isn't ready. Frolov does not appear to be in their plans to re-sign (he's a UFA looking for a raise). Andrei Loktionov will either be back in Windsor of the OHL or with their AHL team but as a 19 year old there's no way he's NHL bound this year. So LA needs a center and Ribiero could be a good fit.
Problems, one Jack Johnson, Drew Doughty, and Wayne Simmonds are all RFA next season. How much money does LA have to spend, knowing all three are going to command huge to moderate raises starting next year? Second, we're in the same division. Does LA want to trade prospects to Dallas to see them shine for another organization? Does Dallas really want Ribiero in a Kings jersey for the next three years?
Vyacheslav Voynov, D
That seems to be the order of their defense prospects. Now that they've added Forbort one of those guys seems expendable. Hickey is least likely to move. He's going to star on that blue line of theirs probably starting sometime this upcoming season. Voynov held his own against men in the KHL as a 16 year old. He was excellent for Manchester of the AHL this last season as a 18 year old. He probably needs another year there to grow and adapt to the NA game but he has the all around skills to be a solid 3/4 in the NHL very soon. Again I doubt he'd be the piece LA would be willing to part with. Teubert on the other hand, may be available but isn't what the Stars need. He's 6'4" 201 lbs and a defensive defenseman in the mold of Marc Fistric. He also probably needs another year or two to develop.
The Kings have some nice pieces I'd love in a trade but bad salary coming back (stoll) and defensive prospects two years away doesn't help Dallas immediately. I can't imagine LA's 2nd and kid like, Nicolas Deslauriers, who's three years at least, away as being a likely return for Ribiero. I'm counting LA out.
Edmonton is trying to go young, cheap and build around Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner. Mike Ribiero doesn't fill their need of an under 24 center to replace Cogliano.
Calgary has a lot of parts but not a lot of good ones. Langkow and Stajan aren't going to win them anything. Problem is their salary dumps like Regehr are the wrong kind of defensemen. Ian White would be a good pickup but Calgary isn't dealing him when he was the centerpiece of the Phanuef trade. Mark Giordano would be ideal but he's cheap and far too good for Calgary to trade away when they need to shed salary. Bouwmeester isn't available and there's not much else there that Dallas would want.
That leaves the four most likely suspects: Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, and Phoenix.
Nashville dealt Arnott and now have Legwand and Colin Wilson as their 1/2. They have NHL ready defense and prospects. This should be the match, yet it hasn't happened yet. Their five million under the cap and their biggest RFAs are Hornqvist, Franson, and Parent. That's doable for five million so how much extra money do they have to spend? Assuming some money has to come back Marcel Goc or Joel Ward would be good 3rd line guys in Dallas.
Ribiero and Skrastins for Joel Ward, Cody Franson, and a 4th in 2011? That's not a bad deal for Dallas. I'd pull the trigger because I believe Franson is a good young defenseman with a solid future in the NHL. Whether Nashville agrees is the question.
Atlanta is making moves to compete. I thought the Byfuglien deal was terrible but I'm not in charge over there. They're 10 million under the cap with several RFAs to sign.
Oduya as the salary coming back, plus Center prospect Eric O'Dell, and 2nd in 2011? Atlanta could use Ribiero but whether they have the budget or wherewithal to trade for him...
If Dallas needs something to sell the fans, Columbus is twice as desperate. Now that Hitch is gone they may open their game up a little bit more and a guy like Ribiero feeding the puck to Nash should be a winner. If it doesn't have to be a complete dollar for dollar trade then I'd want Chris Clark coming back. Klesla makes too much money for too long for a guy who can't stay healthy and isn't all that offensively inclined. I would hope Dallas wouldn't take him back. Mike Commodore is even worse. He's not what this blue line needs. Outside of John Moore and David Savard there's not much in the Columbus prospect cupboard Dallas would want. I just have a difficult time imagining them trading either or those two or Nikta Filatov.
Chris Clark and David Savard for Ribeiro straight up. Its interesting. Clark with Ott and Wandell would make a pretty good checking line, opening up some salary for Talinder or someone like that but still this isn't a wow deal and Dallas may need to wow to justify to the fans dealing Ribs.
Finally Phoenix, the team who most needs his services and the coach who can handle him. They aren't going to sign three of their big UFAs because of money but they have to build on their season or hockey in the desert could still die. Jim Vandermeer is a better version of Karlis Straskins. On a one year deal for 2.3 million, moving him makes sense for Phoenix and does improve Dallas' blueline. If Dallas could somehow pry
Couple other possibilities,
Ribiero for Kaberle and a 2nd. I had to be talked around on this deal but Kaberle fills a need and even more importantly can be dealt at the deadline for a very nice pick/prospect combo in the future. That may be the best deal now and future wise as far as total return package for the center but fans have to understand Kaberle won't stay here and dealing him at the deadline is better than watching him walk for nothing. Will Nieuwendyk trade him if they're sitting in 8th or 9th? Will fans be upset if he does? This deal is good in theory but in the real world has warts that may be too much to overcome.
Don't know that Buffalo wants to make a deal but Ribiero is far more likely to remain healthy and signed longer than Connolly. They have several options to fill their blueline cheaply too so they wouldn't miss Weber as much. For Dallas Connolly is ultra talented but since he's a UFA to be he's a buffer if they think Benn needs more time before becoming a fulltime NHL centerman. He's also a guy you could flip at the deadline if healthy and they're ready to hand Benn the reins. Mike Weber is far more defense than offense but he has a mean streak and can skate. Gragnani is a bonafide power play specialist that has put up huge numbers in the AHL. His defense has come a long way too. Still the best thing about him is that if he struggles defensively you can put him on the 4th line as a winger because he's played quite a bit on the wing and use his offensive skill set opposite Brad Richards on the powerplay still getting great production but not bringing down the blueline.
Of these deals, assuming Joe Nieuwendyk has the guts to trade Kaberle at the deadline to make the most of his value, that Toronto deal is arguably the best along with the Nashville one. The Phoenix one might take an extra year for the two prospects to develop but their high sides are extensive and if Dallas is willing to take the long view just might be the best deal three years from now. Columbus and Atlanta would have to add something tasty and I can't picture them giving up Savard or O'Dell respectively.
If y'all have another scenario or better possible deal out there, post so we can debate. I just don't feel the market for Ribiero will return what his value should be.