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Mike Ribeiro to the Wild makes sense for both teams

Image (1) Ribeiro-thumb-250x166-14151.jpg for post 2165

This isn’t a rumor. This isn’t blind speculation on a trade that is “in the works.” This is merely analysis of a potential trade that would make sense between two teams.

Get used to this, as we gear up for the NHL Draft next weekend and then NHL free agency right after that. As teams jockey for space under the salary cap we’re likely to see more trades than normal at this time of the year, especially considering how dire this free agent class is outside of the goaltenders.

There are a few names that keep being brought up, including Tomas Kaberle, Jason Spezza, Kris Versteeg and Nathan Horton. Another name that has been mentioned, but not as prominently, is Dallas center Mike Ribeiro.

Ribeiro has been great for the Stars since the team acquired him in one of the most lopsided trades in recent history but with the team facing payroll restrictions and looking to move in a new direction under Marc Crawford, Ribeiro has become expendable.

Ribeiro enjoyed another productive season last year, but it was evident that he just isn’t a good fit in the system that Crawford is hoping to put in place in Dallas. The Stars were caught between being an aggressive offensive team last season that pushes the pace of the game and a team that wants to slow down and keep the game in one half of the ice. The result was a wholly inconsistent team, and Ribeiro was right at the center of the Stars’ struggles.

While the Stars were looking to push the pace of the game, Ribeiro prefers to slow the game down. Watching the team in person a number of times last season it was apparent just how much Ribeiro stuck out in Crawford’s system. This isn’t to say that Ribeiro has lost a step or is struggling offensively -- he’s still a great talent with the puck -- but he just doesn’t appear to fit what the Stars are hoping to build moving forward. And the Stars are desperate for defensive help.

With Jamie Benn emerging as a game-changing center, and with Brad Richards likely to stay, the Stars have the chance to move Ribeiro in order to get some much needed defensive help and to ease up on payroll. Ribeiro has three seasons left on his contract at $5 million per season, and there are a couple of options that might give the Stars the chance to bolster the blue line without taking on extra salary.

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal suggests that the Minnesota Wild are putting defenseman Brent Burns on the market while on the lookout for a top line center. A trade that would sway Ribeiro and Burns would make sense for both sides, as the Stars would gain a talented defenseman and free up salary while the Wild would get the top center they desperately need.

The Wild are moving in a new directions themselves, hoping to bust out of the defensive system they were in under Jacques Lemaire. Ribeiro would give the Wild an instant boost on offense and they have the cap space to make the move.

It’s also not a guarantee that Burns would be the one that is traded. The Wild also have Nick Shultz and Cam Barker, who would also be valuable to the Stars in improving their blue line while clearing up salary on the payroll.

There’s nothing that says that these teams have been talking, although it’s known around the league that Dallas could be actively shopping Ribeiro. This would be a great fit for both teams, depending on the other parts that could be involved in a trade. There are other options for both teams, since the Flyers will likely have Carter on the market as well, although the Wild won’t have the pieces the Flyers need.

The Stars need defensemen and the Wild need a center. It fits.

As always, all salary numbers come from