CHICAGO – Wild captain Mikko Koivu knows GM Chuck Fletcher has a lot on his plate before he can even think about maybe talking to him about a contract extension.
The Wild must determine how much it will cost to re-sign restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. Free agency is around the corner. The cap continues to climb only minimally.
“It’s not my time yet, I guess,” Koivu said.
Earlier this week, Koivu and Granlund, both in Las Vegas for the NHL awards, discussed each of their contract situations.
Koivu, entering his 13th season, is about to enter the final year of a seven-year contract and could become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Granlund, entering his sixth season, is a restricted free agent and this summer could be signing a lucrative, long-term contract with the Wild.
“If I said I haven’t thought about it, I’d be lying,” Koivu said. “You always think about the future. For myself, it’s not just about me anymore. It’s about my family, my wife and two kids. This would always be my first option, and I’m not just saying that. I love it in Minnesota. The way the people and the organization and the fans and everyone have treated me, it’s home for me, but also with my kids and my wife, they love it there.”
Koivu understands there’s much Fletcher must mull over, including the fact he’s 34 and the Wild has players, now and in the future, it must make sure it can afford and make room for on the roster.
“The cap’s one thing and how’s that changing and who we can keep now,” Koivu said. “It’s not always realistic that they have a chance to offer me anything or, ‘Do they want to keep me?’ It’s in the team’s hands. If they want me, great. If not, I’ll just prepare for next season like always and make sure we’re ready to go.”
Koivu can’t sign an extension until after July 1. If a new contract doesn’t come this summer, he won’t want to negotiate during the season, which would put his long-term future with the Wild in question.
“I don’t think I would do anything during the season,” Koivu said. “I don’t think it would help my game at all. If not now, it’s going to be at the end of the year.”
As for Granlund, he knows his life could be changing significantly very soon.
“It’ll get done at some point,” Granlund said. “I’m not worrying about it. You kind of know life could change. At some point hopefully we get it done. Right now it’s about getting ready for next season. Enjoy the game and enjoy your life.”
A few days after Jordan Schroeder was informed by the Wild that the team didn’t plan to tender him a qualifying offer, the Wild gave him a chance by trading him to the Columbus Blue Jackets for minor leaguer Dante Salituro.
If he gets a qualifying offer by Monday, Schroeder, 26, will be a restricted free agent rather than an unrestricted free agent.
The Lakeville native and 2009 first-round pick by the Vancouver Canucks is headed to his third team. He had 11 goals and 25 points in 88 games over parts of three seasons for the Wild.
The 5-9 Salituro, 20, is a right-shot center who will be a depth player in Iowa. He played 12 games in the ECHL last season and scored 37 and 38 goals his last two full seasons with Ottawa in the Ontario Hockey League.
• The Wild will announce the hiring of Bob Woods as assistant coach Saturday morning.
• At No. 1 overall to the New Jersey Devils, Nico Hischier became the highest-drafted Swiss player ever. He surpassed Niederreiter, taken fifth overall in 2010.