GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) - The Phoenix Coyotes added much-needed skill at the start of the free agency period on Friday, signing forward Mike Ribeiro to a four-year, $22 million contract.
Phoenix also signed free agent goalie Thomas Greiss to serve as a backup to Mike Smith and re-signed unrestricted free agent forward Kyle Chipchura to a multi-year deal. Forward Lauri Korpikoski and defenseman Michael Stone, both restricted free agents, signed multi-year deals as well.
The Coyotes had been unable to afford top-line talent the past four years, hamstrung by the financial restraints of being run by the NHL.
With a new owner all but in place, the Coyotes made a big splash to open free agency by landing Ribeiro, one of the most sought-after forwards on the market.
The 33-year-old Ribeiro has been a consistent scorer during his 14-year career, topping 50 points in a season eight times. He had 49 points, including 36 assists, in 48 games with Washington last season.
Ribeiro played three seasons under Coyotes coach Dave Tippett in Dallas and spent six seasons with Montreal after the Canadiens picked him in the second round of the 1998 NHL draft.
The Coyotes took a big step toward stability this week when the Glendale City Council approved an arena lease agreement with prospective owner Renaissance Sports and Entertainment.
Headed by George Gosbee, Anthony LeBlanc and Daryl Jones, RSE still needs to complete the lease agreement with Glendale and its purchase of the Coyotes (by Aug. 5), but has already loosened the purse strings for the front office.
Landing Ribeiro was the biggest move, but locking up some of the team's own players also was key, particularly since the team had struggled to do that in the past with the NHL running things.
The 27-year-old Chipchura gave the Coyotes toughness and skill on the fourth line, with five goals and nine assists last season.
Korpikoski, 26, has developed into a solid playmaker on the left wing, scoring 40 and 37 points the previous two seasons before dropping to 11 during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season while battling injuries.
The 23-year-old Stone spent most of the 2011-12 season in the AHL, but developed into one of Phoenix's best defensemen the last half of the 2012-13 season, finishing with five goals and four assists.
The Coyotes also are hoping to re-sign restricted free agent forward Mikkel Boedker.
The Coyotes weren't able to retain forward Boyd Gordon, one of their top offseason priorities, when he signed a three-year deal with Edmonton. Backup goalie Jason LaBarbera also signed with the Oilers.
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