Poile: Resurgent Ribeiro not even on our radar

Nashville Predators GM David Poile tells Hockey Central at Noon that he's enjoying the ride, but understands why the critics give them no hope in the playoffs.

David Poile is getting some credit for an idea that wasn’t his.

The Nashville Predators general manager told Hockey Central at Noon Tuesday that the opportunity to steal arguably this season’s biggest bargain, Mike Ribeiro, off the buyout heap landed in his lap.

Poile just took a calculated risk.

“I was one of probably 28 or 29 teams that never even called on him. He actually, through his agent, called us,” Poile explained of his new top-line centre. “I had heard all the background, and it’s not a good story.”

Ribeiro endured a dismal 2013-14 season personally, separating from his wife and seldom seeing his children. Professionally, he turned in his worst campaign in more than a decade. Arizona Coyotes GM Don Maloney memorably cited “behavioural issues” when he bought Ribeiro out last summer.

But after Ribeiro and his wife, Tammy, spent four days in Nashville touring neighbourhoods and speaking openly over dinner with Poile about their troubles, the GM made them a deal.

“They were very open, more so than I would ever expect, about a lot of things that had happened to them. Ninety percent of this was off the ice. It’s some really tough stuff,” Polie said. “They felt they needed to get out of Arizona.”

The Ribeiros, Poile recalled, said they’d try living in Nashville “forever” if given a shot with the Predators.

“I said, ‘Guys, this is something really easy for our hockey club. If something happens that’s not positive, we’ll just put you on waivers. I don’t think you’re going to Milwaukee because you’ve got your three kids and your wife here in Nashville,'” Poile said.

The response? Ribeiro has meshed with sniper James Neal and recorded nine goals and 29 assists through 44 games. He’s a plus-14 with just 12 minutes in penalties.

Though the 34-year-old will become an unrestricted free agent again on July 1, Ribeiro told the Rinkside Report earlier this month that he is content to hold off extension talks: “I don’t see the rush, but if they are ready to talk, obviously we will talk.”

Poile hopes Ribeiro will continue to be succeed both on and off the ice in Nashville.

“Knock on wood,” Poile said, “their personal life can stay together, because it’s a great story. And I hope it’ll be a real good story for a couple more years.”

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.