It’s the end of an era for Mikko Koivu. The long-time captain of the Minnesota Wild is not going to be re-signed, the club announced. Although to some people this may not be a surprise, it still tugs on the heartstrings of fans in the State of Hockey.
Mikko Koivu Will Not be Re-Signed
Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin has made it clear that changes need to be made in Minnesota. After losing in the Play-In round in four games to the Vancouver Canucks, Guerin has already begun to change the look of the Minnesota Wild’s roster. The Wild acquired former Golden Gopher Nick Bjugstad from the Pittsburgh Penguins, then, in a surprise turn of events, Guerin packaged one player who did not have any idea he would be traded.
That player is Eric Staal. In a surprising move, Guerin traded the Wild’s centreman for Marcus Johansson of the Buffalo Sabres. Many people in the hockey world were surprised at the move. Not only has Staal been traded, but defenceman Matt Dumba is being shopped as well. Guerin has made it very clear that he is comfortable with change and believes that something more must be done to take the Wild to the next level.
Unfortunately, this includes releasing the longest-tenured player in Wild history, Mikko Koivu. Koivu was drafted by the Minnesota Wild in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. The centreman did not make his first NHL appearance since the 2005-06 season. However, when he did he energized the Wild with his defensive prowess and leadership.
The End of an Era
The Mikko Koivu era of Minnesota Wild hockey is certainly unforgettable. Although the club has nothing significant to show for it, Koivu achieved amazing accolades. Throughout the league, Koivu has been been a Selke Trophy nominee numerous times due to his stellar defensive play as a centreman. Although this is impressive, Koivu’s main achievements are how he ranks in terms of statistics with the Wild.
Koivu ranks first on the Minnesota Wild in games played with 1,206 games played. He ranks first on the Wild in assists with 504 assists. He ranks first on the Wild in points with 709 points. Koivu ranks first on the Wild in plus/minus rating, ending his Minnesota career at a plus 70. But wait, there’s more! Koivu leads all Wild players with 2,270 shots in his career and 251 power-play points and 191 power-play assists. Also, Koivu ranks first on the Wild in terms of shorthanded points with 25 shorthanded points and he also ranks first in multi-point games with the Wild producing 153 multi-point games.
One thing Koivu is perhaps known most for is his success in the faceoff circle. To the surprise of nobody, Koivu is the franchise leader in faceoffs taken with 19,290, faceoff wins with 10,354, and faceoff percentage, ending his career with the Wild winning 53.7 percent of all faceoffs taken. Not only that, but Koivu has been the club’s only full-time captain and he has held that title since 2009.
What’s next for Mikko?
There has been a lot of speculation about what is next for Koivu’s career. If he wishes to continue playing, it would most likely be back in his native country of Finland. Another option hinted at by general manager Bill Guerin is for Koivu to join the Wild in a front-office role.
Regardless of what Koivu decides, there is no doubt that the legacy he leaves behind is immense. As of now, the only retired number in Wild history is the number one, belonging to the fans. It would be no surprise for Koivu to be the first player to have his number retired in Wild history. After his incredible career, it is most deserved.
Fans in the State of Hockey will no doubt miss watching Koivu on the ice, but his legacy is sure to be felt in Minnesota for years and years following his departure from the club.