Mike Ribeiro A Terrific Fit For The Phoenix Coyotes

By Randy Holt
Mike Ribeiro
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference having stable ownership can make.

While we’re still waiting for the agreement by the Renaissance Sports and Entertainment group to officially purchase the Phoenix Coyotes to be finalized, it didn’t stop them from making one of the biggest splashes of the first day of free agency, in signing center Mike Ribeiro.

The deal for Ribeiro doesn’t come cheap. He’ll cost the Coyotes $22 million over the next four years, but given the market, it’s probably exactly what should have been expected. If it works out as expected, it should pan out to be absolutely worth it for the Coyotes.

Ribeiro is coming off of an excellent season playing in Washington. He had 49 points in 48 games, 36 of which were assists. The fact that he had so many helpers is what made him such an excellent fit for the Coyotes, who have been dying to get a true playmaking center in the mix for quite some time.

In Ribeiro, they get a guy who has played under Dave Tippett before, so he knows what the expectation is. He’s a creative guy in the middle, with great hands. Wings should thrive next to him, and he’ll chip in some goals as well. He doesn’t have the greatest reputation in the locker room, but he’s coming into a great situation, between the likes of Tippett and Shane Doan being in there.

This is seen as something of a coup for the Coyotes, who haven’t always attracted anything resembling marquee talent. Most of their current roster is either homegrown talent or has been acquired via trade. The new stability in ownership is already proving that the Coyotes can be an attractive destination if they had that aspect settled.

The Ribeiro signing should be a good one for the Coyotes. He’s had some of his best years under Tippett, including a career best 83-point season back in 2007-2008. It’s a slight overpayment, but it’s a terrific fit, and gives the Coyotes an offensive threat in the middle they’ve lacked really, for the entire history of their franchise.

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