Wild announce they will not re-sign Mikko Koivu

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Mikko Koivu and the Wild are parting ways after 15 seasons together, the team announced on Friday. GM Bill Guerin said that the 37-year-old Finn “will be extremely difficult to replace in our lineup.”

From the Wild:

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.

His hard work, dedication and team-first mentality will be extremely difficult to replace in our lineup. Off the ice, Mikko’s impact in the State of Hockey was immeasurable as he went out of his way to make a positive impact on so many people in our community, including his charitable contributions to Children’s Minnesota.

We thank Mikko for everything he has done for our organization and wish him and his family the best in the future.

[NBC 2020 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Koivu played 1,028 NHL games with the Wild, scoring 205 goals and recording 709 points. He led them to the playoffs in nine of his 15 season in Minnesota, but never got past the Second Round. He was a Selke Trophy finalist in 2017 and finished top 10 in voting for the award four times. The Finn also holds numerous franchise records, including games played, points, assists (504), and power play points (251),

As seen by his recent moves, Guerin is looking to improve his team at center. Shipping out Eric Staal, adding Marcus Johansson, and moving on from Koivu is the beginning of the process.

It’s unknown right now what Koivu plans to do next. He could retire from the NHL, find a new team when free agency opens next month, or continue his playing career back home in Finland. Whatever he decides, he’s a sure-fire lock to be the first player in franchise history to have his number retired.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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