The Nashville Predators took a chance on Mike Ribeiro last July when they signed him to a one-year contract. One year later, Ribeiro is coming back.
The 35-year-old center inked a two-year deal on Wednesday to remain with the Preds through the 2016-17 season.
“I’m more than ecstatic,” Ribeiro said. “It was a great season last year for me and for the Preds, and I’m just excited to come back with almost the same group and have the chance to win the Stanley Cup. I believe that the players we have, the team we have, from the top down that we have a chance to win and that was important for me.”
Also of importance for Ribeiro was the support system he’s developed in Music City. From his first visit to Nashville, Ribeiro felt the city could be the right fit. Now that he’s spent a season with the Preds, a campaign in which he potted 15 goals and added 47 assists, that one-time belief is now a reality.
“From the beginning of last year, for [General Manager] David [Poile] and [Head Coach] Peter [Laviolette] to believe in me and to be supportive of me and help me through this, I think it was a great fit,” Ribeiro said. “People believe in the team and that was one of the reasons I wanted to come back. The players, the coaches and David, they believed in me. They supported me throughout the year last year and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
“Mike was a good teammate and a productive player; I don’t think anyone would argue with that,” Poile said Tuesday at an offseason media address. “He was great amongst his teammates, and he and his wife were excellent in the community.”
Ribeiro's teammate, center Mike Fisher, who signed a two-year contract last week to remain with the Predators, expressed his hope that a deal would come for No. 63 to stay in Nashville.
“He brought so much to our team last year," Fisher said last week of Ribeiro. "He was great in the locker room and was a great teammate. You guys all know what he did on the ice and we definitely hope that he’ll get something done here soon.”
An NHL veteran of 15 seasons, Ribeiro knows that his time in the League won’t last forever. With that in mind, signing with a club that could give him a chance to win was near the top of his list.
“Especially at my age, you want to be somewhere you can win and I believe strongly that we can do that,” Ribeiro said. “It’s still a long process… but I think we can go deeper than we did this year for sure. It’s hard to do on the first year when everyone gets together, but if we stick together for a few years, I think we can surprise a lot of people.”
Both Poile and Ribeiro believe there is plenty of good to come, and the signing of a new deal in Nashville only helps to ensure that feeling.
“I applaud [Ribeiro] for his efforts to be a good husband, father and family man, and I just hope that it continues,” Poile said. “I hope it all works out well for Mike.”
“My teammates and the fans made me more than comfortable and accepted me with arms open and I loved it,” Ribeiro said. “My kids and wife too, I think we’re in a good place and it was important for us to try to stay here and keep building, not just on the ice, but as a family too.”