34-Year-Old Center – Minnesota Wild
Mikko Koivu Contract Information:
Signed a two-year extension with the Wild worth $11 million in Sept. 2017.
Koivu had two power-play assists and seven shots on net in a 5-4 win over the Sabres on Wednesday.
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Mikko Koivu: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Koivuís been a member of the Wild organization since being taken No. 6 overall in 2011, and he enters his age-33 season on the still-productive back end of a very good career as a puck distributor, much of that on the top line. Heís actually coming off one of his strongest recent seasons, with 17 goals and 56 points representing his most prolific production since 2010-11. Koivu also hit double-digit power-play goals for the first time and 20 power-play points for the first time since that same 2010-11 campaign. The Wild brought in Eric Staal this offseason to take on top-six minutes at center, but Koivuís aging much more gracefully, meaning heíll probably retain the first-line role and post another season around 50 points.
The longest-tenured member of the Wild, Koivu has been through the best of times and the worst of times in Minnesota. Now 32 years old, Koivu had another solid, if unspectacular season centering the teamís top line. Over 80 games -- his highest total since 2009-10 -- Koivu scored 14 goals and added 34 assists. His work on the power play was also notable, as he added four goals and 11 assists with the man advantage. Altogether, the 14 goals were the most heís recorded since 2010-11, and it qualified as a somewhat of a surprise since heís seen his shooting percentage dip below 8.0 percent in each of his last two seasons. As a forward who logs nearly 20 minutes of ice time per game, Koivu still provides value, even if his days as a 60-plus-point scorer are clearly in the rearview mirror.
Tales of Koivu's decline are largely overblown, but his totals are indisputably decreasing. His goal total took a dive last season, partially a result of a 7.5 shooting percentage, producing his lowest output in that category since his rookie campaign. That should at least bounce back a little. Despite that, he still posted 43 assists and averaged 20:56 of ice time a night, seventh-best among NHL forwards. Koivu is going to get solid power-play time and will have two stellar wings playing with him after Minnesota increased their top-six depth with the addition of Thomas Vanek. Koivu should find his way into your draft in the middle rounds, making him a great find if youíre grabbing him after that. Don't reach for him.
Despite an overall improvement in the Minnesota offense, Koivu's output on offense stayed close to his career averages in 2012-13. He's never been a prolific goal scorer, but puts up consistent assist totals and power play points (15th in power play assists in the NHL last season). He also played a full season after missing time with injuries the past two seasons. He'll center Minnesota's top line with Zach Parise and Jason Pominville, and there's plenty of value in that.
Various injuries and a slow start conspired to limit Koivuís effectiveness last season, but the crafty pivot still managed 44 points in 55 games despite stretches of futility. You generally know what youíre going to get with Koivu: a plethora of assists and a handful of goals. The difference this season is that he will have Zach Parise, a consistent 30-goal scorer, on his wing. Koivuís value certainly sees a bump with his new teammate, just donít overpay expecting a monster season. Another 60-point season is certainly possible for the consistent center.
The 28-year-old Koivu has been an integral member of the Wild ever since the team used a sixth overall draft pick to nab him in 2001. Fantasy owners hungry for steady centers should know that Koivu has accumulated 200 points (59 G, 141 A) in 230 games over the past three seasons. But there is some degree of risk investing in the Finn, as he underwent surgical procedures on his right knee and shoulder after the 2009-10 season, and missed a handful of games last year due to a finger injury. Fortunately, he was able to finish out the regular season on a high note with five assists in the last two games. If he can coexist with newcomers Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi like we think he will then there is no reason why a healthy Koivu can't crack the 70-point barrier for the second time in his career.
Koivu scored a career-high 71 points last season and has become the focal point of Minnesota's offense. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to repair a torn labrum and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee after the end of the season, so check on his health during the preseason.
On a low scoring team, Koivu's 67 points were far and away the top point total. Saku's younger brother has come into his own as a player, and with Marty Havlat likely on his wing, he could add some more assists to his name this season.
Koivu made a big improvement in his second full season, scoring 54 points and with nine power-play goals. He's become a favorite of head coach Jacques Lemaire for his savvy play and defense. He should continue to see his role grow as a result and could take another leap in his production. He's also valuable to the Wild in the face-off department, as he led the club in draws won (583) last season.
Minnesota's first-round draft pick in 2001 (sixth overall), Koivu seemed to be the kind of smart player that head coach Jacque Lemaire loves and he started strong last season and got time on the power play. But after a December slump and January knee injury, he wasn't productive in the second half. See how he's doing early this season as he could rebound and be a nice sleeper.
The brother of Saku was the sixth overall pick in the 2001 draft, but played in Finland until last season. Koivu scored 20 goals and 48 points in 67 games for Houston of the AHL despite missing a month because of appendicitis. He could make the final Wild roster and could gain a prominent role. He's got sleeper potential.