When I wrote this story June 30 (click link) about how Mikko Koivu wanted to stay here and believed in the current regime, I got a bunch of emails from worried Wild fans adamant that this would be Marian Gaborik Part II.
They thought Mikko was just saying all the right things to a reporter, but this would wind up being another Wild player leaving in an ugly fashion.
Hey, there were justifiable reasons to feel that way, but then this afternoon in a shocking announcement just by virtue of how quickly it happened after July 1, Kaptain Koivu signed a seven-year, $47.25 million extension -- the richest deal in franchise history.
The contract is a cap hit of $6.75 million starting in 2011-12. He'll get seven annual salaries of $5.4 million, with $1.89 million signing bonuses in Oct. 2011, Oct. 2013, Oct. 2015, Oct. 2017 and Jan. 2018.
There is a full no-trade clause.
We have a 6 p.m. conference call with Koivu and GM Chuck Fletcher, but through sources, I'm told this got done quickly for two reasons:
-- Mikko was adamant that he wanted a seven-year deal and the Wild, instead of starting lower or higher, offered seven years.
-- Mikko's agent was adamant that he'd get $7 million on the open market, and frankly, the Wild agreed.
So there were no games or mixed messages from either side. The Wild wanted Koivu, Koivu wanted to stay, and the deal got done.
Huge money, but I'd say this: Koivu is the one player I wouldn't worry about giving a seven-year deal to.
“I am pleased to announce that our captain, Mikko Koivu, has signed a seven-year contract extension which will keep him in a Wild uniform through the 2017-18 season,” said Fletcher. “This is an historic day for the Wild. Mikko is the flag in the ground that we will build our team around. He is our franchise player, an excellent leader and an exceptional hockey player.”
Koivu, 27 (3/12/83), led the Wild in points (71) and assists (49) for the second consecutive season and set new career highs in goals (22), assists and points in 2009-10. His assist total was one shy of the Wild record set by Pierre-Marc Bouchard in 2007-08 and his point total was the third highest in club history. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound center also led the team with 20 multi-point games. Koivu ranked second in the NHL in face-offs won, seventh in faceoffs taken and eighth in faceoff percentage (56.9). He also ranked tied for 16th in the NHL in assists, tied for 23rd in scoring and 16th amongst forwards in average time on ice (20:44).
He was named the first full-time captain in team history on Oct. 20, 2009 and has appeared in 362 games with Minnesota tallying 255 points (79-176=255) and 256 PIM in five seasons. Koivu owns 58 career multi-point games and the Wild is 42-11-5 in those contests. He ranks tied for second on the Wild’s all-time list in SHG (seven), third in assists, multi-point games and shots (884), fourth in points, fifth in goals and seventh in games played. Koivu has won 52.8% of faceoffs in his career.
He has represented Finland at the last two Winter Olympics recording four assists in six games to earn a bronze medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and captured a silver medal at the 2006 Olympics in Turin, Italy. The native of Turku, Finland, was originally selected by Minnesota in the first round (No. 6) of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft.