When the Phoenix Coyotes ownership situation was settled, the team was finally able to spend money in free agency. The result was former Washington Capitals center Mike Ribeiro, who signed a four-year, $22-million contract to play in Phoenix.
Ribeiro is happy to be in Phoenix and has high expectations for the team. He pointed to goaltender Mike Smith and a talented defense as reasons why the Coyotes can contend for the Stanley Cup this year.
“That was one of my goals, was to win a cup, and I believe with the coaching staff we have here and the players, we’re going the right direction and I’m happy to be here and help them,” Ribeiro said at the team’s media day Wednesday.
Ribeiro, a 14-year vet, is known as a goal-creator and was tied for tenth last season in points, totaling 49 in just 48 games. He’s hoping to continue his playmaking ways in Phoenix.
“I’m just going to try to make my teammates better, try to create for them offensively,” Ribeiro said, adding an additional focus will be put on special teams, where his goal is for the team to rank in the top-10 this season.
Though he’s joining a new team, there are some familiar faces on the Coyotes. He played with Smith under current Phoenix head coach Dave Tippett with the Dallas Stars in the mid-2000s. According to Ribeiro, the Coyotes’ netminder has changed since they were last teammates.
“I guess he’s matured since I met him, he was pretty young,” Ribeiro said. “Having kids makes you mature a little bit. I’m sure he’s still a little bit of a goof.”
Ribeiro also had praise for Tippett, saying the coach has a good relationship with his players and makes their roles clear.
“He’s easy to communicate with, he respects his players,” Ribeiro said. “He’s a guy who’s calm behind the bench.”