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Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Ribeiro (63) flips the puck past Calgary Flames' Joey MacDonald (35) for a goal during the second period of an NHL game on Tuesday Oct. 22, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)
Phoenix Coyotes' Mike Ribeiro (63) flips the puck past Calgary Flames' Joey MacDonald (35) for a goal during the second period of an NHL game on Tuesday Oct. 22, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin/AP)

Coyotes to buy out the remaining years of Mike Ribeiro’s contract Add to ...

The Arizona Coyotes knew Mike Ribeiro had behavioural issues when they signed him before last season, but hoped a reunion with coach Dave Tippett would help him.

It didn’t, at least not to the Coyotes’ satisfaction.

The Coyotes initiated a buyout of the final three years of Ribeiro’s contract on Friday, parting ways with their top off-season acquisition from a year ago.

“Mike had some real behavioural issues we felt we could not tolerate going forward,” Coyotes general manager Don Maloney said.

The Coyotes had sought a playmaking centre for years and appeared to have landed one when they signed Ribeiro to a four-year, $22-million contract last off-season.

He was one of the top free agents on the market last year and was considered a major coup for the franchise’s new ownership group, IceArizona, which had agreed on a lease agreement to keep the team in Glendale just three days earlier.

The 34-year-old Ribeiro showed flashes of the brilliance he had in Washington, where he played at a point-per-game pace during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

But as the season wore on, Ribeiro became less effective and struggled with personal problems despite playing for Tippett, his former coach in Dallas.

Ribeiro was a healthy scratch in games against Pittsburgh and New Jersey late in the season while the Coyotes were fighting for a playoff spot and was largely ineffective down the stretch. He finished with 16 goals and 31 assists in 80 games.

The Coyotes became the Arizona Coyotes on Friday.

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