The Mike Ribeiro trade is a strange situation. Not because it was a surprise or because it was a bad trade for either team.
It's a strange sitaution simply for the reasons that it had to happen. Normally a team makes a trade because they think they can make their team better through it. Whether that means immediately or down the road during a rebuild. The Dallas Stars are rebuilding on the fly and from a lot of analysts point of view, they are doing a great job as of the draft that just ended.
Normally, if both teams are smart, they are both giving up players from a point of strength in their organization for a piece that will provide a fix for a weak point. If both teams do that then a trade is usually seen as a "good hockey deal". For instance, everyone (except for Toronto fans, who have an irrational hate for Schenn) think the JVR for Schenn deal was a solid deal both ways.
In this case, the Stars are weakest at the Center position. Where they used to have large gaps in talent on the back end, they now have a hole down the middle thanks to the absence of Brad Richards among other things. So, the obvious trade would be to trade for a center. Likely from a pool of talented wingers down in Austin such as Reilly Smith.
Instead management got rid of the team's best center if you don't count Benn as a true center (and many are under the impression that he will be transitioned back to Wing if at all possible this coming season.
And in return we get a second round pick in the draft and Mr. Eakin; a center largely seen as an unproven prospect at best.
The obvious thing to take away from this is that we need another center via trade or free agency. But the more vague and hard to comprehend bit of information to take away from the trade is "why?"
The answer for most Stars media is the need for Jamie Benn to get more ice time. Despite all of Ribeiro's flash in the offensive end and in shootouts, he was a huge liability defensively. In order to cut down on the goals he and his line would theoretically give up you have to give him the first line minutes. Meaning he will get the line changes that put him out against a team's less vigilant lines. Avoiding checkers and more importantly the team's top talent. This left Jamie's time on ice lacking. In order for Ribeiro to produce he had to be playing several of the minutes that Jamie Benn should have had. The best forward on thet eam (arguably) was getting cut back on ice time because the only way to make use of Ribs was to give him loads of easy ice.
This includes time on the first power play unit. Something that Benn should have been running.
So yes, in short by trading Ribeiro away they have left a larger hole in an already weak point of their team. But for the sake of their team's development as a hole and especially in terms of their top talent such as Jamie Benn, the best thing to do was to trade away Ribeiro.
In addition, we all should take into account that Ribeiro's contract would be up at the end of the 12-13 season (if there is one). He's 32 and his prime seems to be past him. Even with a goal scorer like Ryder on his wing he wasn't able to eclipse his career bests.
His stock was only likely to decrease after this coming season and you have to add the risk of him walking away for nothing as a free agent at the end of the season.
Could they have gotten better? Probably, if Ribeiro had a strong start to the season. But Ribeiro has been on the trading block for the last season or two, if there was a better deal to be made, you have to assume that the people getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to know what they are doing would have taken it.
Other good news is that the Stars now have a repore with the Washington Capitals which could lead to some valuable communications in the future between teams that aren't in danger of challenging each other from different conferences. And if NHL12 has taught me anything, it has taught me to keep my reputation up with certain franchises.