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It was all but inevitable that Mike Ribeiro would not be re-signed by the Capitals, after tweets such as this one by Renaud Lavoie of RDS on June 30:
Even so, it hurt when Ribeiro signed a four-year deal worth $22 million with the Phoenix Coyotes. Phoenix GM Don Maloney expressed his pleasure at landing a big fish like Ribeiro, as reported by ESPN.com news services:
Since I came here six years ago, we've been searching for a playmaking center iceman, someone who could make his wingers better. Certainly, Mike's skill set, his ability to pass the puck, vision on the ice was an area we had ideally been looking for, so to be able to bring him to the desert is a really good day for us.
This is exactly the type of player the Capitals were looking for when they traded for Ribeiro. Now, the Capitals will have to replace Ribeiro's point-per-game production. The 33-year-old totaled 13 goals and 36 assists for 49 points in 48 games. Ribeiro's 36 assists were fifth-best in the NHL.
Plus, his presence on the power play gave the unit another potent playmaker to go with Nicklas Backstrom, making the Capitals power play nearly unstoppable. Ribeiro ranked first in the NHL in power-play assists with 21, and the Caps ranked first in the league in power-play percentage at 26.8 percent, according to NHL.com.
What was especially damning, however, was the length of the deal. McPhee had offered a three-year deal. Ribeiro had demanded a five-year deal. Logically, a four-year deal should have been offered as a compromise. Apparently, Maloney thinks logically, and McPhee does not.
This failure by McPhee could have a drastically negative effect on the Capitals' offensive output during the 2013-14 season.