O Kaptain! my Kaptain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought was won by the Kings,
The new season is near, the goal songs I hear, the fans all excited.
– Walt Whitman, I think
The Wild’s season didn’t end how Wild fans hoped. It was a season that made fans optimistic for the future of this team. The way the team was able to play with Chicago surprised many and had fans realizing how close this team is to truly being a contender.
When the final bell tolled and Patrick Kane scored an OT goal off a strange bounce, Mikko Koivu wound up taking a lot of the heat. He only scored a single goal in the playoffs to go along with six assists. Not the production the team probably needs from its captain. But as I wrote about in an article shortly after the loss Koivu took an unfair amount of heat for how well he actually performed and how integral he was to the team’s postseason and regular season success.
Despite some fans starting the postseason talking about a compliance buyout for Koivu, he remains a lynchpin of this team, one of its most versatile players. He’s a playmaker that can set things up on the power play, he plays the penalty kill, he’s a solid possession player, he can eat a ton of minutes, he’s the team’s most dangerous threat in the faceoff circle… but he doesn’t score a lot of goals and that’s all a lot of fans are looking at with Koivu. He’s not that number one center who is going to score 30 goals, which is what you’re seeing on a lot of Western Conference teams. Hell, he’s only broken 20 three times in his career, with a career-high mark of 22. The model has centers as those high-scoring players, but with Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, and Thomas Vanek on the wings — and maybe a leap forward from a young player like Charlie Coyle, Mikael Granlund, Nino Niederreiter, Erik Haula, Jason Zucker, or Justin Fontaine, Koivu may be able to provide a new model if the Wild can take a step forward again this season.
So we move on and watch Koivu’s 11 goals and one postseason goal, remembering that there are probably better Koivu highlights on the posts collecting all of the goals of this teammates, because that’s how he plays.
#1 10/17/14 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning MIN 1- TBL 3
This may be Koivu’s goal, but it’s notable because the clip is the only known time in human history a highlight has started with Anthony LaPanta screaming “Ryan Suter on a breakaway!”
#2 11/05/13 vs. Calgary Flames CGY 1 – MIN 5
#3 11/17/13 vs. Winnipeg Jets WPG 1 – MIN 2
#4 11/17/13 vs. Winnipeg Jets WPG 1 – MIN 2
Koivu’s second of the night for a 2-1 win.
#5 11/20/13 vs. Ottawa Senators MIN 4 – OTT 3
Koivu taking it in, cutting to the middle, and skipping the pass. You don’t see that too often.
#6 11/30/13 vs. Colorado Avalanche MIN 3 – COL 2 (SO)
Koivu was dangerous in November if there was a loose puck in the slot.
#7 12/08/13 vs. San Jose Sharks SJS 1 – MIN 3
I know this is as easy as it sounds and that no one has ever said it before, but I’d love to see Koivu cut across the middle and shoot a little more often.
#8 12/27/13 vs. Winnipeg Jets MIN 4 – WPG 6
Great tic-tac-toe play for the power play goal.
#9 03/22/14 vs. Detroit Red Wings DET 3 – MIN 2
After a long absence due to injury, Koivu finally knocks in another.
#10 03/31/14 vs. Los Angeles Kings MIN 3 – LAK 2
#11 04/05/14 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins PIT 0 – MIN 4
About cutting to the middle and shooting…
#12 04/30/14 vs. Colorado Avalanche MIN 5 – COL 4 (OT)
He only scored one playoff goal, but he opened the scoring on the biggest game of the season as the Wild won on Niederreiter’s OT goal in Game 7.