Mike Ribeiro had every intention of returning to Washington after one point-a-game season with the Capitals.
When it became clear the Capitals could no longer afford him, the highly-skilled center had one place in mind: Phoenix, where he could reunite with former coach Dave Tippett.
''I wanted to be coached by someone I knew and someone I had a good relationship with,'' Ribeiro said. ''I've always had good coaches, but to have someone I could talk to and comfortable with, that was important to me.''
The Coyotes have been searching for a top-line center seemingly since they moved to the desert in 1996 and had been hampered by the lack of an owner the past four years.
Its ownership situation close to being resolved, Phoenix finally had the financial flexibility to lure big-name players to the desert. During free agency, the Coyotes landed one of the biggest by signing Ribeiro to a four-year, $22 million deal.
A fast center who has great skill with the puck, Ribeiro gives the Coyo...