For what it's worth: Mike Ribeiro

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

A different post today, as I look at the season of Mike Ribeiro and try to figure out if he's been good, bad or somewhere in between.

The Phoenix Coyotes played three games this week and scored three goals. For those of you with math skills, you know that works out to exactly one goal per game. That's a fantastic amount of activity with which to try to write a post about the fantasy performance of multiple players for this team. Outside of OEL and Yandle, the results would pretty much be: "they stunk". So, with that in mind, I'm going to do something a little different today and tackle an individual player whom I was an advocate of this season and see how he's performing.

There has been some pointed criticism of Mike Ribeiro and his play this season from certain corners of Coyote fandom. Are these criticisms fair or not? Is Ribeiro playing up to the contract he's been given or has he been a colossal bust? Let's try to figure that out today. The following is a breakdown of the relevant offensive stats for Ribeiro in his career broken down in certain blocks (note: the career numbers do not include his numbers with the Yotes in 2013-14.)


Mike Ribeiro

#63 / Center / Phoenix Coyotes

6-0

177

Feb 10, 1980

Mike Ribeiro
Goals
Assists
Shots
Power play points
Points
Points per game
Career (785 games) 186 423 1261 209 609 .776
Career minus 2013 (737 games) 173 387 1198 182 560 .760
2013 with Washington (48 games) 13 36 63 27 49 1.021
2013-14 with Phoenix (47 games) 11 21 74 9 32 .681

Time to delve a little deeper into the observations that can be drawn from this table. Ribeiro is shooting more this season than he did last year with Washington. In fact, here is a quick chart of his career shots per game and his career shooting percentages:

Mike Ribeiro
Games
Shots
Shots per game
Shooting %
Career 785 1261 1.61 14.8
Career minus 2013 737 1198 1.63 14.4
2013 with Washington 48 63 1.31 20.6
2013-14 with Phoenix 47 74 1.57 14.9

As you can see, Ribeiro's shooting performance this season is very much in line with his career numbers. He's shooting more this season than he did last year, which was his lowest career year for shot attempts per game. Ribeiro is never going to be a shoot first player, but it is helpful to see that he's on pace with his career norms in this category. We may want him to shoot more, but if he hasn't done it yet in his career, it's not likely to change now.

This season, he is getting a little over 28 percent of his points on the man advantage which is just slightly below his career mark outside Washington which is 32.5 percent. So why is Ribeiro's points per game number so off pace of his career marks and way behind last season's in Washington? The first clue is to look at his goals versus his assists.

In his career, goals account for only 30 percent of Ribeiro's total points. This season, it's sitting at 35 percent, which is not terribly higher than his career for a small sample size of 48 games. But if you look at the actual difference of his points per game this season over his career, that figure breaks down to a 12.2 percent difference. In layman's terms, he's scoring 12.2 percent fewer points per game right now than his career average. The difference in his goals scored per point scored this season is 16.7 percent higher than his career average. So he's scoring goals more often than he is adding assists this year and his overall point production is down.

But he is shooting at virtually the same pace this season as his career and his shooting percentage is identical. So why is production down? The answer is fairly simple. He's playing with far less talent.

Ribeiro is a play maker so his production is very much dependent upon his linemates. Remember, last year, Ribeiro played in Washington with perhaps the best pure goal scorer in the world on his wing. Alex Ovechkin played with Ribeiro for nearly 46 percent of his 5-on-5 ice time and even more on the power play. For an idea of how influential Ribeiro can be, check this stat line out:

Alex Ovechkin
Goals
Assists
Points
Power play goals
Shooting %
2011-2012 (no Ribeiro) 38 27 65 13 12.5
2013 (with Ribeiro) 32 24 56 16 14.5

The important thing to remember is that in 2013 with Ribeiro, Ovi did all that in only 48 games while his 2011 stats were compiled in a full 82. In fact, if you prorate his 2013 numbers to a full 82 game year, you end up with a line like this:

54 goals, 41 assists, 95 points, 27 PPG

Those numbers would have been Ovechkin's best in over 3 years and his 14.5 shooting percentage was the second highest mark of his career. Playing with Ribeiro was obviously good for Ovi and playing with Ovechkin was obviously great for Ribeiro.

This season, Ribeiro doesn't have an Ovechkin, his best possible wingman missed over a quarter of the season so far, and he's been skating with David Moss maybe way too much. Moss is a good role player and has been a very useful player for the Coyotes, but his 5.3 shooting percentage is eye-poppingly bad when skating with Ribeiro.

Could Ribs be better? Absolutely he could, but so could everybody on this team. To say that Ribeiro has played poorly or been a bust would not be an accurate statement though. The numbers that he controls are well within his career norms and his biggest drain on his performance are his assists numbers being down. Now that Doan is back, the next step would be to put an actual goal scorer on the other side, a role that should have Mikkel Boedker's name written all over it. If that line combination gets more ice time together, don't be surprised if the rest of Ribeiro's season edges closer to his career norms than the first half did.

Author's note: Would you like to see a more detailed breakdown of an individual player every Friday like this piece on Ribeiro or would you prefer the more traditional weekly fantasy recap of the Coyotes? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @TwoTonTwenty1.

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