Is Mike Ribeiro an Ice Time Thief?
Ribeiro’s offensive output in Dallas, spanning six full seasons, was remarkably consistent. He could be counted on for 2 SOG each game resulting in 20 goals per season. So why does Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News see the loss of Ribeiro as a positive? In Heika’s article, he argues that Ribeiro could be viewed as a selfish player for overextending his shifts. In turn, subsequent shifts suffered because they were out of sync.
But if you look at Ribeiro’s game, there are also some concerns that could have helped make this a dark time. His insistence on taking long shifts used to frustrate the heck out of Brad Richards and Mike Modano, and they could have played a huge part in Jamie Benn having such a strange season last year.
Heika is right. Ribeiro did cheat on his shifts. A quick look at the average shift time for Dallas forwards makes this obvious:
While injuries forced some line shuffling for Dallas last season, Ribeiro spent the bulk of his time with Eriksson and Ryder (as revealed by our line combinations tool). Despite this, he ended up with about 7% longer shifts than his line mates.
Of course, Ribeiro was on the 1st PP unit for Dallas and you might expect this to contribute to his longer shift time. But, Eriksson and Ryder were also on this PP unit. Furthermore, a look at Ribeiro’s average shift length versus PP TOI reveals that it had little to no impact on his average shift length.
Will Ribeiro’s long shifts be a problem in Washington? That remains to be seen as the Capitals are still without a coach and, in the past, haven’t been bothered by Ovechkin’s average shift time of 56.3 seconds.