Brad Richards vs. Mike Ribeiro

Rick Roos

2014-02-26

MikeRibeiro

 

Who is the better centerman to own in fantasy hockey – Brad Richards or Mike Ribeiro?

 

This week's Cage Match focuses on two players – Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro – who seem to have spent much of their careers either rising above or falling below expectations. But who will fare better for the rest of 2013-14, and is more likely to help your team more in the next few seasons?

 

Career Path and Contract Status/Cap Hit

Richards might be a bit younger (turning 34 in May) than Ribeiro (just turned 34), but he's actually played in 116 more NHL games thanks to jumping straight from juniors to the NHL. Plus, despite the fact that Ribeiro was a higher 1998 draft pick (45th overall, versus Richards going 64th), he ended up spending at least part of each season in the AHL until 2003-04. Interestingly, from 2007-08 through 2010-11, they were teammates on the Dallas Stars.

Richards has had two sensational seasons, tallying 91 points first with the Lightning in 2005-06 and again on Dallas in 2009-10. But he's never actually finished a season with 80-90 points; instead, his next highest total was 79 points back in 2003-04 (although he did post 77 points in 72 games in 2010-11). Ribeiro had a great stretch of hockey with the Stars from 2007 to 2009, racking up 161 points in 158 games. But only one other time has Ribeiro managed to crack the 70 point mark, and two of his better seasons came when he missed at least eight games due to injury.

Last season was newsworthy for both players, with Richards once again falling short of sky high expectations in his second campaign with the Rangers, while Ribeiro tied for the NHL lead in PP points on his way to posting 49 points in 48 games with the Capitals. Fast forward to now, and they find themselves right next to each other in scoring, with Ribeiro disappointingly sitting at 40 points in 58 games and Richards not faring much better with only 42 through 59 contests.

Richards is (in)famously signed through 2019-20 on a deal that brings with it a $6.67M cap hit (21st among forwards), while Ribeiro is on year one of a four year deal that has a $5.5M cap hit (tied for 42nd). Ribeiro is the highest paid Coyote forward, while with all the whispers about Richards' contract it's easy to forget that he's only the second highest paid Ranger forward (