On Friday the Arizona Coyotes were busy preparing for the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and celebrating their name change from the Phoenix Coyotes. Despite the promise of a new name and new talent to be drafted the Coyotes came back to the harsh realities of hockey business and let go a once promising player who had become detrimental to the organization.
The Coyotes announced on Friday afternoon, just before the start of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, that they have initiated the buyout of the three remaining years of Arizona forward Mike Ribeiro’s contract. The 34-year old Montreal, Quebec native signed a four-year, $22 million deal with the Coyotes last July in the hope that he could improve the team’s offense.
But Ribeiro’s lack of offensive punch wasn’t the reason for Arizona to buy out the remainder of his contract. According to Coyotes general manager Don Maloney, Ribeiro had issues that were detrimental to the team and a split up was necessary to maintain harmony for the Coyotes.
“Hey, we all have our issues and no one’s an angel,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said in an AZCentral report by Sarah McLellan. “When we’re looking at older players, there’s certain things we accept and certain things we can’t and it doesn’t matter how much they make. They have to do the right thing for the organization, and we feel this is the right thing.”
In his only season with the Coyotes Ribeiro tallied 47-points, on 16-goals and 31-assists but he struggled at the end of the season when they needed his scoring touch to make a run for a playoff berth.
In his last 14-games of the 2013-14 regular season he contributed one-goal and two assists. The Coyotes missed the playoffs for the second straight season. At the end of the regular season Ribeiro was his harshest critic
“If I had played a little bit better, we’d have made the playoffs,” Ribeiro said on April 4, 2014 in a team report. “I never had my groove; never found it. It was just a hard season for me. It was one of my worst. (Now) it’s about me and how I can get better. I can be physically in better shape. My main goal is to get in good shape and get ready for (next) season… I take zero positives from this season, but at least know it can’t get any worse.”
Things have gotten worse for Ribeiro. He’s now unemployed and the Coyotes are taking a $1,944,444 cap hit a season until 2019-20, according to CapGeek.com, to make sure he isn’t on their roster.
It’s not a great stretch to think that Ribeiro will have some difficulty finding a roster spot in the NHL this upcoming season. He’ll be 35 halfway through the upcoming season and now has the notoriety of having behavioral issues.
“Mike had some real behavior issues last year with us I felt we could not tolerate going forward,” Maloney said in an AZCentral report by Sarah McLellan.