Mikko Koivu's No. 9 is going up to the rafters of Xcel Energy Center.
The former longtime Wild captain will become the first player in team history to have his jersey number retired when the Wild recognizes Koivu on March 13, during a ceremony before hosting Nashville in St. Paul.
"Mikko did so many great things for our organization on the ice and in our community during his 15-year career here," Wild owner Craig Leipold said in a statement released by the team. "He truly deserves this honor."
Koivu retired from the NHL in February after 16 seasons, most of which were played with the Wild.
He and the team parted ways during the 2020 offseason when the Wild decided not to bring back Koivu once his contract expired, ending a partnership that dated to 2001, when the Wild drafted him sixth overall.
As a free agent, Koivu signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets but played only seven games before wrapping up his NHL career. Koivu, who continues to live in the Twin Cities, will address the media on Tuesday, but the 38-year-old said at the time of his retirement that he would embrace the opportunity to get back in front of Wild fans.
"I will be back in Minnesota at some point," Koivu said in February. "That is a very special bond for me personally. All the years that I spent there, the way the fans always treated me and also the teams that I was with, the feeling going to the Xcel Energy [Center] and just the energy that you had in the building, you feel like you're one of them.
"So, I will never forget that and for sure I'll be back there — just obviously in a different role than I'm used to, but I will enjoy that."
After 1,028 regular-season appearances with the Wild, Koivu is the franchise's career leader in games played and several other categories including assists (504) and points (709) while ranking second in goals (205) and third in game-winners (33).
A one-time Selke Trophy finalist as the league's best defensive forward, the Finnish native was the 55th player in NHL history to skate in his first 1,000 games with the same team. He debuted with the Wild on Nov. 5, 2005, at San Jose, and logged his last game on Aug. 7, 2020, vs. Vancouver in the qualifying round of the playoffs. Koivu became the team's first full-time captain on Oct. 20, 2009 and was active in the community, sponsoring two private patient rooms in the Neuroscience and Epilepsy Center at Children's Minnesota.
"No one worked harder than Mikko during his time with the Minnesota Wild," General Manger Bill Guerin said in a statement. "He was a fiery competitor and a fantastic captain both on and off the ice … but the impact he made in our community and the connections he made with Wild fans will live on forever."
The Wild held an optional practice Monday, and both of the team's injured players participated.
Winger Mats Zuccarello was on the ice after taking a slash to the hand on Friday vs. Winnipeg and missing the next game, a 4-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Captain Jared Spurgeon also practiced, the fourth time he's skated since suffering a lower-body injury that's sidelined the defenseman the past four games.
It's unclear, though, when either player will be ready to return to action. The Wild plays host to Arizona on Tuesday when its five-game homestand continues.
"Key players for our team," winger Kevin Fiala said. "Very happy to see them out there today. Hopefully they'll be back soon with us."
The Wild has scored four or more goals in five of its past six games, and that benchmark has been a theme for success in St. Paul this season.
At least four goals have been recorded in all seven of the team's wins at Xcel Energy Center, with the Wild scoring a combined three times in its two home losses. The Wild's 54 goals overall since Nov. 2 lead the NHL.
"There's so much movement and creativity, and obviously I think Kirill [Kaprizov] and Zuccy are really at the forefront of that," winger Rem Pitlick said. "We're a very strong, straight-line team with a lot of speed, but there's so much creativity: the cutbacks, the movement, all that stuff. It's just really cool to be a part of it because it's both sides of the coin.
"It's kind of like a combination of North American and European [styles] here."