Mike Ribeiro and Alex Ovechkin had skated together on the Washington Capitals’ top line for more than a month when the star winger and franchise centerpiece offered his initial impressions of the veteran center.

“He’s a great guy,” Ovechkin said on March 8. “I hope we’re gonna sign him for next year. Maybe two, three years. I don’t know. I’m not judge. But you can see the results. He’s right now our best points man on our team, and he gives us results.”

Throughout this abbreviated 48-game season, Ribeiro has been the Capitals’ most consistent performer, their leading scorer who has filled a crucial need for a highly skilled playmaker behind Nicklas Backstrom. For all of his positive contributions to the Capitals, though, Ribeiro’s future with the team is uncertain.

Ribeiro, 33, is slated to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. While he’s open to re-signing with Washington, he is seeking a long-term contract, ideally, a four- or five-year deal.

“If we can agree to a long-term then I’ll be more than happy to stay here,” Ribeiro said Sunday. “I don’t know if I’m looking for two years and then change place, then another two years. I don’t think I want that.”

With eight days remaining before the NHL’s trade deadline, Capitals General Manager George McPhee and the rest of the organization’s top brass must decide how to proceed with Ribeiro.

If they view him as a significant piece of the roster puzzle, they’ll likely try to re-sign him before he becomes a free agent on July 5. If not, or if the Capitals don’t believe they can reach an agreement with Ribeiro on a new deal, they could opt to move him before the April 3 trade deadline rather than risk losing him for nothing as a free agent.