Nashville Predators: Ribeiro to Blackhawks?

The Nashville Predators veteran playmaker has been tied to rumors involving the division rival Chicago Blackhawks.

Nashville Predators fans now have a story that should certainly peak their interest- according to this hockeybuzz.com article, the Chicago Blackhawks have expressed interest in acquiring Nashville center Mike Ribeiro.

The idea of this move would have sparked outrage in Smashville near the end of last year’s regular campaign, which saw the 36-year-old Ribeiro marking the 10th 50-point season of his career working primarily as the team’s second-line center.

But after drawing the ire of the Fanged Fans with a lackluster postseason effort and two healthy scratches, eyes may now be looking over the Blackhawk’s roster for a prospective trade return.

The Chicago Blackhawks have been looking to create cap space, which leads one glancing over the numbers to believe a center-for-center trade for Artem Anisimov may be considered. There’s a million dollars of gap between Anisimov’s $4.5 million hit and Ribeiro’s $3.5 million- though the switch may be thwarted at the gate with the no-trade clause included in Anisimov’s deal.

If the NTC could somehow be worked around, the move would make the Nashville Predators eight years younger at a position where age is beginning to be a concern.

The 28-year-old Anisimov notched 20 goals and 42 points last year, though has never reached the 50-point plateau during his seven season career. The Blackhawks forward does, however, hold a decisive edge between the two in defensive play.

No other move would appear to make sense from a distance. From a Chicago cap-space perspective, the only forwards paid more than Anisimov and Ribeiro on the Chicago roster are Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and the 37-year-old Marian Hossa (#don’texpecttoseeanyofthemingold).

A concern about Pekka Rinne’s play may be cited here- but unfortunately our rivals are not likely to part ways with franchise goaltender Corey Crawford, and backup Scott Darling is simply not enough of a return for a regular 50-point scorer, no matter his age.

Any trade would serve as a gamble on Riberio’s declining level of play at this stage of his career. But moving Ribeiro for anything other than a forward, even draft picks, would make Nashville dangerously thin up front for the coming season.

Luckily, Nashville Predators GM David Poile has a track record of taking advantage of other team’s needs and making moves that are incredibly beneficial to his hockey club (See: Filip Forsberg, James Neal, P.K. Subban, Ryan Johansen). It would be fun to watch what pieces he could get from a division rival for the pass-master.

Mike Ribeiro, despite being a success since coming to the Nashville Predators on a trial basis two seasons ago, has become a cause of concern amongst Preds fans. Moving him for a vital piece of one of the world’s best hockey clubs, especially one so loathed in Smashville, would just be another reason for excitement to be at an all-time high for Predators hockey.

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