39-Year-Old Center – Free Agent
Saku Koivu Contract Information:
Became an unrestricted free agent in July 2014.
Koivu announced his retirement from the NHL on Wednesday, Sportsnet.ca reports.
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Saku Koivu: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
As a likely third-line center for the Ducks, Koivu has been a consistent, but relatively unimpressive performer. Last year's average of 0.574 points per game didn't deviate significantly from his average over the previous two years of 0.557 points per game. Given the Ducks' expected use of him in the upcoming season, it is unlikely that his production will increase in any significant fashion. Draft accordingly.
Koivu will once again slot in as the Ducks' second-line center but at 37, his offensive skills are on the decline. He's dropped from 50 to 45 to 38 points in his three years in Anaheim. He'll get some second-unit power-play time and he'll likely wear an A on his jersey again this year. But he's no longer an elite -- or even average -- fantasy option.
Koivu wrapped up his second season with the Ducks posting 45 points (15 G, 30A) in 75 games played. His fantasy value hinges on which line he plays on this season, as newcomer Andrew Cogliano is expected to challenge him for second-line duty. With Ryan Getzlaf firmly entrenched as the team's first-line center, Gogliano and Koivu will battle it out impacting each of their fantasy potential along the way. Even if he's able to remain on the second line, Koivu's injury history and declining skills could make last season's 45-point effort difficult to repeat.
After a slow start with the Ducks last season, Koivu showed his veteran presence with a strong finish. In 2009-10, he appeared in 71 games where his TOI average was 18:34. A versatile veteran known for his high energy style, the coaching staff placed Koivu with different lines when the injury bug hit the team. Ranked fourth on the team with 52 points (19G 33A), he answered questions for the franchise by signing a two-year contract. For Koivu, staying healthy might be an issue due to his physical play, but with his ability to perform on any line, if he can squeeze our 70 or so games, there is no reason why he should not duplicate his effort from last season.
Koivu played in 65 games last season while dealing with a foot injury, recording 16 goals and 36 assists. He will be 35 in November, but if he can stay healthy, he could be in for a big season playing on a line with Teamu Selanne and Joffrey Lupul.
The Habs are kind of stuck with Koivu though his contract now vastly exceeds his contributions to the squad. Don't be stuck yourself, in the past, thinking that this guy's still a 70-point center. Kovu had a measly 56 points in 77 games last year. While he scored 75 points in 2006-07, that was only his second 70-point season in his 12-year career. Moreover, Koivu's been usurped by Plekanec as the Habs' top center. Still, those of you who can use a 60-point center should still consider Koivu, as he's set to begin the season centering a line with 27-goal scorer Chris Higgins and newcomer Alex Tanguay.
Koivu quietly accomplished three significant feats last season -- 1) he played 81 games; 2) he scored a career-best 75 points (with 43 power-play points); and 3) he proved that his slightly impaired vision (he has a permanent blind spot, albeit miniscule) had no real effect on his game. The 43 PP points were also a career-best. Even with the loss of Souray on the power play, Koivu should still pile up the points and be a mainstay of the first power play unit. Koivu is feistier than most people realize as he racked up 74 PIMs last season and has had 70 PIMs or more in three of his last four campaigns. Be also aware that he was a career worst minus-21. Koivu makes for a good second or third fantasy center, after you've picked up a 90-100 point pivot. Moreover, if the team is out of the playoff hunt by March 1, Koivu could get moved to a more potent offense elsewhere.
Koivu is coming off another serious setback. This time the injury he suffered has a certain permanence to it. Even though he has mostly recovered from a stick that detached the retina in his left eye, he has a permanent blind spot or blur in his peripheral vision. Thus far in preseason it does not seem to have effected him much but the regular season will be the ultimate test. Koivu is as high risk-high reward as they come in hockey this year: he'll either retire from the effect of the eye limiting his ability or he'll be a 70-point centerman.
Saku Koivu has management, the city and fans all in his corner. He is signed and is the unchallenged leader of this team. Unfortunately, the oft-injured center is always a crapshoot to play a meaningful amount of games. Still, when in the lineup, he is one of the fiercest competitors in the league. Koivu is the top line center and has the talent to back it up.