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Ribeiro should be second-line center Caps need

The SportsXchange

The Capitals went into the draft hoping to address their long-term needs. But before they selected center Filip Forsberg and right wing Thomas Wilson with the 11th and 16th picks of the draft, they addressed their immediate needs by acquiring center Mike Ribeiro.

Ribeiro, 32, gives the Capitals the proven second-line center they've been missing since Sergei Fedorov left for the KHL in 2009.

"I think (adding Ribeiro) makes us immediately better," general manager George McPhee said.

The Caps gave up rookie center Cody Eakin, who fell short of expectations in his first NHL season, and a second-round pick acquired in the Semyon Varlamov trade last summer.

So if you break it down, the Caps picked up Ribeiro, Forsberg and Wilson in exchange for Varlamov. Not a bad return.

Ribeiro has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $5 million next season, or $1.7 million less than what Alexander Semin cost them in the final year of his contract.

Ribeiro gives the Capitals another option on the power play and relieves some of the pressure on Nicklas Backstrom to score. It also gives the Caps legitimate depth down the middle, allowing Brooks Laich to return to a more suited role of third-line center.

Ribeiro's arrival is not necessarily a good thing for Mathieu Perreault, who is coming off a strong 16-goal season but might be forced to move to wing next season.
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