Judging by many of the comments on the story about Friday's Stars trade, there's a feeling that the Stars shouldn't have dealt away a scorer like Mike Ribeiro. I disagee. A few thoughts on the matter:
* Ribeiro is not a part of the club's future. He's 32 years old and GM Joe Nieuwendyk and his staff are trying to assemble a core of young players that can help the club be competitive for years to come. Ribeiro just isn't a member of that core, and so with one year left on his contract now is the time to deal him.
* Ribeiro is making $5 million this season. That's now $5 million more the Stars have to spend on free agents in preparation for next season with plenty of cap room. Obviously, trading Ribeiro creates a pretty large hole in the top-6 group at center. The guy produced points for a team that lacked scoring. But they have the financial flexibility to go out and at least try to secure some of the bigger names on the market. Can they land winger Zach Parise? It might be a longshot. But you can bet the Stars will do what they can on July 1 to get in the discussion. If not Parise, they could look at other options on the market or, maybe more realistically, on the trading block. They've got prospects and financial flexibility to get something done.
* Ribeiro did have flaws, folks. He stayed on the ice too long during many shifts, he wasn't particularly good in the faceoff circle and it wasn't easy for him to be facing checking-line centers all the time, either. That wasn't going to get any easier in Dallas, which is why Washington is a good spot for Ribeiro, and I expect him to do well as a second-line center there.
* The Stars didn't just throw the name of Cody Eakin out there in trade talks with the Caps. They've done the research and followed him and believe he can be a solid forward in the future. That fits into their long-term plan. Just like the second-round pick they got could, as well. No, it doesn't help them next season. But again, Nieuwendyk is doing this the right way: He's thinking about the next three to five years, not just next year.
* Still, the pressure is on. The Stars have money to spend. How they spend it next month and how they approach trades could determine the long-term success of the club. This is a big moment, not unlike the Mark Teixeira trade moment for the Texas Rangers in 2007. This is the time to make something happen that can set the direction of the organization.
But I have no problems with dealing Ribeiro. If you have a plan -- and the Stars do -- you have to execute that plan. Ribeiro didn't fit into that plan, so deal him now, get something back for him, free up the cap space and go out and do something.