Minnesota Wild Trades: The Value Of Mikko Koivu


The art of the trade.  It is dates back to earliest days of human civilization.  It started when one person said to another, “hey I’ll give you this, if you give me that.”  Trades work when you realize there is something you want that you do not currently have and you know someone who has that item and are willing to exchange what you want for what you have.  The latter part of that statement is the key, and often times hopeful fans ignore that when discussing possible trade ideas.  As rumors have begun to swirl around the Minnesota Wild shopping a few players as it nears the NHL Entry Draft including its team captain Mikko Koivu, how likely is it that the team is able to swing a trade?

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  • In my opinion, not too likely.  Or about as likely as this kid trying to trade his lunch at school in the movie Uncle Buck.  Ok, that might be a tad bit harsh but you get my point.  Just because it would be in the best interest for the Minnesota Wild to be able to trade a big contract like Mikko Koivu it doesn’t mean you’re going to have any takers for his services.  This trade discussion all started because of a comment made by Roger’s Sportsnet‘s Elliotte Friedman about the possibility of a deal for Minnesota’s captain to Montreal.  Fellow Minnesota Wild blog Hockey Wilderness discussed the rumor of a possible trade of Mikko Koivu and how such a trade would hurt the team.

    I am not sure it would be as bad as Hockey Wilderness implies.  He was 39th in scoring among centers in the league.  I know among the possession stats crowd, Mikko Koivu is sort of a cult hero.  Yet have you ever seen a trade lauded solely because of their possession numbers?  Nope.  Goals and points certainly appear to make the biggest splash (surprising, huh?) when a trade happens.  Koivu had 6 less points (48) this season than he did last year even though he played in 15 more games.  As the Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Michael Russo stated in his blog and podcasts that Mikko Koivu is not going to age pretty.  In fact I think he’s already starting to look pretty ugly.

    So does that sound like a real great commodity to trade, especially when you add in the fact he has 3 more seasons with an average cap hit of $6.75 million per season?  Are you seeing the rest of those kids (other teams) backing away in horror now?  A slow, 30-something center who doesn’t score almost at all in the post season, with diminishing regular-season scoring totals would probably not sound too desirable to anyone even if he wasn’t vastly overpaid.  The only way I can see the Wild being able to deal away Koivu is if they sweeten the deal with another player (probably a prospect) or picks.  Unfortunately the team’s prospect pool is not all that deep right now lacking blue chip talent and the Wild have dealt away lots of picks in deadline deals to try to bolster themselves in post-season runs the last few years.

    "“Bottom line is until we prove that something’s different, then nothing’s changed.” ~ Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo"

    Of course Koivu could derail any potential trade by refusing to waive his ‘no trade’ clause, which Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher seemed to have given virtually every player in their last contract negotiation.  Michael Russo does believe that if the Wild approached Mikko Koivu about trading him he’d probably consider waiving it out of his feelings being hurt by the team’s want to move him.  If the Wild thinks it cannot sweeten the deal it will probably have to entertain the idea of absorbing another team’s toxic contract(s) to make it happen.  That may make an uncomfortable situation even worse.

    I think the NHL Entry draft is the best place to look to replace Koivu’s spot in the Minnesota Wild’s Top 6.  That will not be an immediate fix, but it certainly would be the most affordable option and it would not compromise draft picks or other prospects in the process.  Is Colin White the answer as Gone Puck Wild‘s Alex Trembley suggests?  The truth is most of the league is finding itself in a cap crunch so there will be lots of clubs looking to deal, but like the kid with the bad school lunch they will be hoping to pawn off its less desirable commodities.

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    The Wild may not be able to solve its salary cap conundrum and just perhaps all of the mistakes Chuck Fletcher has made finally catches up to him.  He has shown himself to be resourceful in the past but he certainly faces his biggest and most important challenge as General Manager.  The delicate dance of moving salary to give the organization some more flexibility but without giving up anymore future assets (draft picks, prospects) while he does so.  Only time will tell if Fletcher can pull this off or find himself like the kid with the nasty lunch, with a whole lot of things he wants to sell and absolutely no one is interested in any of it.

    Next: Minnesota Wild: Time Running Out to Win a Stanley Cup

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