It almost seems comical that after years of embracing the journeymen, the grinders and the lunch-pail workers, the Coyotes finally roped a prized free agent with an impressive offensive track record ... and he fizzled.

Mike Ribeiro's output in Year 1 wasn't only a disappointment in light of his four-year, $22 million contract handed out by the Coyotes last summer, but his 16 goals and 47 points also weren't characteristic of a player hyped as a No. 1 center.

"There's a certain compete level you have to have to play, and I think Mike got down on his game," General Manager Don Maloney said. "Obviously, the coaches got down on him as well and it was a snowball and he couldn't find his way out of it. We need to get his confidence back to a level where he's a good player for us because he wasn't."

The Coyotes aren't used to dishing out top dollar for an offensive performer — Ribeiro was a point-per-game player the previous season alongside Alex Ovechkin in Washington — so they also seemed unsure of how to spur him on once production didn't match the price tag.

After a seven-game point streak in October, Ribeiro's best stretch was 16 points in 15 games from early November to mid-December. He slowed down after that, managing 14 points up until the Olympic break and only five in 14 games once the NHL resumed.

"I think it was a lot of things," Ribeiro said. "It's not just about hockey but a lot of things. Never having my groove, never found it. It was just a hard season for me. I think it was one of my worst seasons. But … I don't believe it can get worse. That's a positive. Next year I can come here and have a better season."