On Friday, right when free agency begun, the Phoenix Coyotes made a splash that can ultimately pay dividends for the next few years to come. The Coyotes signed free agent center Mike Ribeiro to a four year, $22 million deal. On average, Ribeiro will be making about $5.5 million per year.
Ribeiro was pretty productive last season for the Washington Capitals, who did make the playoffs. Last season, Ribeiro had 13 goals and 49 points in 48 games. He was also better than the Coyotes’ four other centers on the team, who only had 39 assists last season. Head coach Dave Tippett has a good relationship with Ribeiro as they both were a part of the Dallas Stars organization from 2006-09.
In a statement, Tippett said about Ribeiro “He can be a quirky guy, but he just has a unique ability to hold the puck, make great plays and find players in spaces. He makes plays other players can’t make.” Interestingly enough, the only thing that was holding Ribeiro from signing with the Coyotes was the ownership uncertainty. So it just shows how much of an issue the ownership uncertainty was to free agents like Ribeiro.
But what’s pretty cool about this is that the Coyotes can have a one two punch on the first line with Ribeiro and Shane Doan, which could be a secret weapon that could lead the charge to get Phoenix back into the playoffs.
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