On Friday, the Minnesota Wild announced the team will not be re-signing Mikko Koivu for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Selected sixth overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Mikko Koivu has spent the entirety of his 15-years with the Minnesota Wild. Koivu ranks first in points in franchise history with 205 goals and 504 assists for 709 points in 1,028 games played. For the first time in his career, he’ll be a free agent because the Wild won’t be bringing him back.
This announcement comes mere days after the Minnesota Wild shipped out Eric Staal to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange Marcus Johansson. Both moves look to be cap-related, as the NHL and its clubs learn to deal with the flat clap.
Having traded two of their centers in Staal and Koivu, along with Alex Galchenyuk on the move once again, The Minnesota Wild are now down three centers going into the 2020-21 season.
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As a result, speculation as to whether the team trades Matt Dumba (for a top-six center) will further amplify.
Mikko Koivu was a true leader both on and off the ice during his 15-year career with the Wild. From being drafted sixth overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, making his NHL debut on Nov. 11, 2005, being named the team’s first full-time captain on Oct. 20, 2009 and wearing the ‘C’ for the last 11 seasons to becoming the first player to play all 1,000 NHL games with Minnesota on Dec. 1, 2019, Mikko’s legacy will live on forever in our organization.
Where Will Mikko Koivu Land?
At 36, a decline was inevitable. Wherever he may land, Koivu will not be expected to reach the point totals he attained in his prime.
Be that as it may, for a contending team that may be looking to bolster their bottom-six, Koivu would be an ideal candidate to fill that position. If Koivu maintains a steady 20-30 points during a season, Koivu would be a serviceable third or fourth liner.
However, the flat salary cap will play a role as well. Contending teams may have to part ways with some of their better plays as they will not be able to afford them all and may not be willing to bring on an aging asset should Koivu not be willing to take a pay decrease.
Therefore, non-contending teams with cap space may be a viable option. NHL free agency will take place on October 9th and by then we will have an idea as to where Koivu lands.