Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 20 or more games this season (and are still with the team) - and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.
#63 / Center / Dallas Stars
Feb 10, 1980
|2011 - Mike Ribeiro||74||18||45||63||5||66||2||0||5||142|
Key Stat: 15 power play points. It's going to be a long summer of lamenting the power play, among other things, and today is no different unfortunately. 84 players in the NHL had more power play points than Mike Ribeiro this season - And he's the unofficial quarterback of this unit. He scored just 2 power play goals and was the primary assist on only five others. It's a group effort, to be sure, but they needed a little more from him here in the absence of Brad Richards.
The Good: Ribeiro was a point a game player when it mattered the most, scoring 32 in his final 33 games. 63 points over all in 74 games is par for the course for the dynamic play maker and he responded well to Gulutzan's post All-Star game adjustments, leading the Stars offense more effectively the more offensive zone starts he was awarded. Keep in mind that he probably played the entire second half of the year on a partially torn MCL, and that the Stars' offense looked completely lost without him in the games leading up to the break in January.
The Bad: He was a +5 on the season. That doesn't sound so bad, but when you consider that the team's other top forwards were +18 (Loui Eriksson), +17 (Michael Ryder) and +15 (Jamie Benn) you begin to see the problem he has defensively. Glen Gulutzan was forced to keep his top line away from other team's top lines due to defensive inability, and Jamie Benn was forced to play the role of a checking line player far too often as a result. The scoring chance reports all seasons long showed that Ribeiro was consistently out-chanced at even strength, and his line was targeted on the road throughout by opposing coaches. He also recorded his worst year on the dot as a Star (by far) at 42.2%, down from 46.6% last season.
Bottom Line: There's no doubting how important Mike Ribeiro is to the Stars' offense, and at this stage of his career there's no doubting his defensive deficiencies the number spell out either. Entering the final year of his deal it will be interesting to see how the Stars deal with replacing him, or else extending him, with no viable replacement pivot anywhere in site that can produce the points he can. Is he to be praised for playing through injury and producing 63 points in 74 games, or is he part of an aging leadership core that's been a part of too many late season collapses?
Vote now: Rate Ribeiro on a scale of A to F (A being the best of course) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season.