The Minnesota Wild and captain Mikko Koivu have agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension worth $11 million starting in the 2018-19 season, the Wild announced Monday. The deal comes with a cap hit of $5.5 million per season following the seven-year contract that Koivu is set to complete this season that came with a cap hit of $6.75 million per season.
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) September 19, 2017
For the Wild, this is a way to keep the team’s long-time captain under contract for the remainder of his career in all likelihood while continuing to build towards a potential Stanley Cup Championship. For Koivu, the Wild are the only team he’s ever known. Drafted with the sixth overall pick in 2001, the Turku, Finland-native has played with the Wild since the 2005-06 season, scoring 179 goals and 614 points in 843 games while playing as good a two-way game as there is at hockey’s top level.
Wild fans have gotten a chance to see Koivu grow before their eyes with the team and he now gets the chance to complete his career with the team that drafted him – something that is not seen often in sports anymore. That isn’t to say that the Wild and Koivu can’t amicably split in the final year of the veteran’s contract if the Wild aren’t in the playoff race and Koivu is coveted as a rental player. It’s way too early to tell if that will ever materialize, however. For now, it’s obvious that both parties want to keep this marriage going for as long as they can. That doesn’t change the fact that the NHL is still a business, however, and it’s still something to keep in mind down the line.
In terms of point production, Koivu has been consistent throughout his career. Scoring at least 42 points in at least 10 of his 12 seasons, Koivu has hit the 50-point mark five times, the 60 point mark twice and scored a career-high 22 goals and 71 points in 80 games in 2009-10. Though the Wild have made the playoffs in each of the last five seasons, they’ve also found themselves eliminated in the first-round three times including twice in the last two seasons. With Koivu remaining in the fold for the foreseeable future, the team will look to make a push to finally take the next step and potentially make it past the third round for the first time in franchise history.
Koivu Making His Mark in Wild Franchise History
Joining the NHL in 2000-01, it isn’t surprising to see Koivu’s name atop of so many statistical categories. The Wild’s long-time captain ranks first on the team’s all-time list for games played, assists, points, shots on goal, powerplay points, shorthanded points, multi-point games while also ranking second in goals, shorthanded goals, game-winning goals and plus/minus rating. With the time that Koivu’s spent on the team and a new two-year deal in tow, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the veteran finish his career in first place in each of the aforementioned categories when all is said and done.
Another impressive stat for Koivu is the fact that he’s the only player in the history of the Wild franchise to win 20 faceoffs in a game – something he’s done in 11 regular season games in his career and could do again in the next three years while under contract with the team. His defensive play has always been steady, but Koivu was a finalist for the Frank J. Selke Trophy in 2017 along with Ducks’ center Ryan Kesler and the eventual winner of the award, Boston Bruins-forward Patrice Bergeron. Though he’s getting older Koivu is still a crucial part of the core of the Wild and will continue to be an impact player for another few seasons.