Over the course of the next month, Konopkaesque will review each player who suited up for the Wild this season, with a few exceptions. 1) They had to play at least ten games during the season and/or playoffs (sorry, Brett Bulmer, Carson McMillan and John Curry) and 2) they had to finish the season as part of the organization, which ironically excludes the man for whom this blog is named, among others.
So, without further blathering, here’s today’s subject:
Mikko Koivu, C, Age 31
Remaining contract (per capgeek):4 Years, 6.75m (UFA in 2019)
Games: 65 (Regular Season) 13 (Playoffs)
Goals: 11 (Regular Season) 1 (Playoffs)
Assists: 43 (Regular Season) 6 (Playoffs)
+/-: Even (Regular Season) -4 (Playoffs)
PIM: 24 (Regular Season) 10 (Playoffs)
ATOI: 20:56 (Regular Season 20:32 (Playoffs)
What Did He Do?: Koivu continued to be a steady point producer and one of the league’s premier face-off men, finishing 13th in the league with a 54.2 winning percentage throughout the regular season while leading the Wild in assists despite missing a chunk of time with a broken ankle. In year’s past, Koivu’s injuries have usually preceded a major Wild meltdown, however they not only stayed alive, but thrived during the 2014 absence, posting an 11-4-2 record while Koivu was sidelined. Though his ankle injury also caused him to miss the Olympics, the bread did allow him to heal without missing any further game action for the Wild.
Koivu was especially brilliant down the stretch, scoring 13 points in the final 11 games of the season to help sew up a playoff spot. In the season-defining comeback wins over Phoenix and Los Angeles on March 29th and 31st, respectively, Koivu had back-to-back multi-point games.
In the playoffs, Koivu’s offense suffered as he ended up saddled with defensive duty on strong opposing centermen (Paul Stastny and later Jonathan Toews). Of course, just looking at the raw numbers was enough for the anti-Koivu camp (which I’m still trying to wrap my head around) while never really looking at Koivu’s overall value to the team. I’d explain it to you, but GerDivine of Hockey Wildnerness already did such a wonderful job, I will just invite you to check that out. Bloggers looking after bloggers. It’s powerful stuff [wipes tear].
What to Expect if You’re Expecting: One thing is for sure, Koivu is slowing down. As smart a defensive player as he is, his skating was never fleet, and at times it looks like he is slogging through sand when busting back on the back-check. The emergence of Mikael Granlund has finally taken some of the pressure off Koivu to not only shut down opponents but also be the team’s number one scoring center, which is a draining, impossible task. If Erik Haula can continue to provide offense, all the better for Koivu, and one could make a strong case that the Wild could improve drastically even though their captain’s point output could continue to trend downward. Koivu’s detractors will always point out that Mikko might make slightly too much money (and they may be slightly right) with some even making the ludicrous claim the the team should use their remaining compliance buyout on the captain. Love him or hate him, Koivu’s impact on a game is undeniable, and as other offensive players fill in around him, his overall influence might not show up on a basic stat sheet, but it may be easier to appreciate.
Trade Prospects?: I’d say none, but with Chuck Fletcher, I believe anything is at least possible. I’ll put the odds at .005 %. Essentially, you can probably keep buying Mikko Koivu Wild sweaters without fear of being “that guy” in two years.
Season Highlight: Mikko Koivu Shootout Magic! Vol. 1:
…And the Oilers:
Seriously, do these teams read scouting reports?
One more for you, just because this was a sweet passing display vs. the Jets in December: