While having NHL players venturing off to Europe to play during the current lockout has to bring some anxious moments from their club’s front office, the Minnesota Wild have to be pleased with what they are seeing from their captain Mikko Koivu.
Koivu is playing in his home country of Finland for his hometown team, the TPS Turku and is off to a blazing start, recording four goals and one assist in the team’s first four games. He’s also a plus-4 proving that he cannot only contribute offensively, but he’s an asset in the defensive zone as well.
On the season, the Turku are 8-9-0-2 through 19 games and sit second last in the league. It is worth noting however that the team is 3-1 in it’s last four games since Koivu arrived and should the lockout continue and Koivu remain playing for TPS, it wouldn’t surprise me if he helped put the team in playoff contention.
The 29-year old is arguably the best leader the Wild have and he does so with his consistent play, averaging 0.80 points per game over the past four seasons in Minnesota. He also averages nearly twenty minutes per game over his career, all seven seasons with Minnesota, proving that the Wild are his team.
It is statistics like these that make it clear why the Wild signed him to a 7-year contract extension in 2011 worth $47 million, capturing Koivu’s talents during what are sure to be the prime of his career.
With optimism surrounding the negotiations between the NHL and NHLPA that a new deal can be worked out and the season salvaged, Koivu is proving he is ready to come back to North America and lead the Wild to a postseason charge.
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