by PuckStopsHere on 07/29/14 at 03:14 PM ET
The Phoenix Coyotes bought out Mike Ribeiro's contract this summer. He had signed a four year contract with a $5.5 million cap hit the year before. Since this contract was signed after the most recent CBA was signed it is not a compliance buyout and will count against the Arizona Coyotes salary cap into the future. The reason given for the buyout is that Ribeiro had off-ice issues that prevented him from being a productive member of the team. The Nashville predators gave him another chance. They signed him to a one year contract worth $1.05 million. This will either be a last chance or a chance to reinvent himself as an NHL player.
Ribeiro has had rumors of substance abuse that have followed him throughout his NHL career. Perhaps this is part of the reason Ribeiro is moving onto his fifth NHL team. In the NHL the ability to forgive players for off-ice behavior depends upon their productivity on the ice. It is far easier to forgive a superstar than it is a role player. When Ribeiro was scoring 70 or 80 points a year in Dallas, if he had the same issues, it was easier to forgive him than when he scored 47 points last year. This isn't to say that 47 points is bad. It makes him a solid second liner on most NHL teams. The problem is he played an extremely easy offensive role as is shown by his zone starts.
Mike Ribeiro led the NHL in excess offensive zone starts. He was on the ice for 265 more offensive zone faceoffs than defensive ones. Given that role, he should have had a more significant offensive contribution. He should have been the team leader in points. Ribeiro was the fifth highest scorer on his team and he posted the worst +/- rating among Coyote forwards. Mike Ribeiro probably would have been forgiven for his off-ice problems if he had been a top scorer.
The top offensive zone starters must be top offensive players in order for their role to be justified. Ribeiro did not do this. That made his buyout an easier decision for the Coyotes.
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