Coyotes sign Ribeiro to 4-year deal
The Phoenix Coyotes spent the past four years searching for
impact players, but didn’t have the money to land many due to the
restraints of being run by the NHL.
Now that an owner is all but in place, the Coyotes were able to
make the kind of big-splash signing that should give them a big
boost on and off the ice.
Landing one of the most coveted offensive players at the start
of the free agency period, the Coyotes signed forward Mike Ribeiro
to a four-year, $22 million contract on Friday.
”Since I came here six years ago, we’ve been searching for a
playmaking center iceman, someone who could make his wingers
better,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said. ”Certainly,
Mike’s skill set, his ability to pass the puck, vision on the ice
was an area we had ideally been looking for, so to be able to bring
him to the desert is a really good day for us.”
The Coyotes took a big step toward stability this week when the
Glendale City Council approved an arena lease agreement with
prospective owner Renaissance Sports and Entertainment.
Headed by George Gosbee, Anthony LeBlanc and Daryl Jones, RSE
still needs to complete the lease agreement with Glendale and its
purchase of the Coyotes (by Aug. 5), but has already loosened the
purse strings for the front office.
In addition to Ribeiro, the Coyotes signed free agent goalie
Thomas Greiss to serve as a backup to Mike Smith and re-signed
unrestricted free agent forward Kyle Chipchura to a multi-year
deal. They also signed multi-year deals with forward Lauri
Korpikoski and defensemen Michael Stone, both restricted free
agents, and signed defenseman Chris Summers to a one-year deal.
On top of that, Phoenix was working on locking up a few more
players within in the organization and still has the flexibility to
sign or trade for others.
It added up to a new free agency experience for Maloney and
assistant GM Brad Treliving.
”What was interesting was that there wasn’t a pending free
agent in the marketplace that didn’t call us and want to talk about
coming to Arizona to play hockey,” Maloney said. ”That’s the one
thing I was really encouraged by. Normally, Brad and I are banging
at the phones, `will you please call us’ … and that gets a little
old after a while, so this was such a totally different experience
for Brad and I.”
Their big move was landing the kind of front-line center they
had been seeking almost since moving to the desert in 1996.
The 33-year-old Ribeiro has been a consistent scorer during his
14-year career, topping 50 points in a season eight times. He had
49 points, including 36 assists, in 48 games with Washington last
Ribeiro played three seasons under Coyotes coach Dave Tippett in
Dallas and spent six seasons with Montreal after the Canadiens
picked him in the second round of the 1998 NHL draft.
He could play on the first line with captain Shane Doan and
Mikkel Boedker or could allow Tippett to mix things up with his top
”Obviously, his relationship with Dave Tippett was a huge
factor in this decision,” Maloney said. ”They developed a very
strong relationship when they were together in Dallas and we’ve
monitored his status and feel like he has lots of life left in
Landing Ribeiro was the biggest move, but locking up some of the
team’s own players also was key, particularly since the team had
struggled to do that in the past with the NHL running things.
The 27-year-old Chipchura gave the Coyotes toughness and skill
on the fourth line, with five goals and nine assists last
Korpikoski, 26, has developed into a solid playmaker on the left
wing, scoring 40 and 37 points the previous two seasons before
dropping to 11 during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season while
The 23-year-old Stone spent most of the 2011-12 season in the
AHL, but developed into one of Phoenix’s best defensemen the last
half of the 2012-13 season, finishing with five goals and four
The Coyotes also are hoping to re-sign Boedker, a restricted
The Coyotes weren’t able to retain forward Boyd Gordon, one of
their top offseason priorities, when he signed a three-year deal
with Edmonton. Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera also signed with the
”Boyd was a great player for us and I’m happy for him to get
his contract,” Maloney said. ”That’s the business and they (the
Oilers) certainly value him and had enough in their payroll budget
that they could spend what they wanted to spend. We liked Boyd with
us, we would have liked to keep him, it just got to a point where
we decided we’re going to have to go another direction.”
Losing Gordon was tough, but unlike previous seasons when key
players left, the Coyotes have the support from an owner to get
someone else to take his place.