This is exactly how it was supposed to be.

Once the Coyotes were released from the league’s custody and operating under outside ownership, they would be able to lure and sign big-name free agents.

Not only were the Coyotes one of the more active teams when free agency opened Friday, securing six contracts, but they grabbed one of the prized attractions by signing Mike Ribeiro to a four-year, $22 million contract to finally settle their search for a No. 1 center.

All of this happened only days after the Glendale City Council voted to keep the Coyotes in the Valley, setting up a sale to IceArizona.

“There wasn’t a free agent or pending free agent in the marketplace that didn’t call us and want to talk about coming to Arizona to play hockey, and that’s the one thing that I was really encouraged by,” General Manager Don Maloney said. “Normally (Assistant General Manager Brad Treliving) and I are beating the phones and begging, ‘Will you please come and take a leap of faith?’ That gets a little old after a while. This was such a totally different experience.”

The Coyotes weren’t able to keep center Boyd Gordon, who chose a three-year, $9 million contract with Edmonton, and backup goalie Jason LaBarbera walked to take a one-year deal with the Oilers.

But the Coyotes did lock up winger Lauri Korpikoski with a four-year, $10 million deal and agreed to three-year deals with center Kyle Chipchura and defenseman Michael Stone. They also signed defenseman Chris Summers and former San Jose Sharks backup goalie Thomas Greiss to a one-year contracts.

“We wanted to change our goaltending mix in the sense of a younger player that maybe could push a little harder looking for more of an opportunity,” Maloney said.

Ribeiro, 33, was a point-per-game player for the Washington Capitals last season. Before that, he consistently hovered around the 20-goal plateau with the Dallas Stars.

There his career coincided with coach Dave Tippett, who helped facilitate this deal by reaching out to Ribeiro in the two-day window before free agency started when teams could interview prospective free agents.