The Minnesota Wild are currently going through a state of change. They’ll soon hire their fourth general manager in team history, after Paul Fenton lasted roughly 14 months on the job. During his time on the job, Fenton traded away core players, Charlie Coyle, Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.
There could be even more changes on the horizon. Jared Spurgeon is playing in his final year of the contract and could be playing in his final season in a Wild sweater.
Another member of the Wild that could be playing his final season as a member of the Wild is captain, Mikko Koivu. The sixth overall pick in the 2001 draft has been the captain of the Wild for over a decade.
Koivu is coming off a torn ACL and will be 37 at the start of the 2020-2021 season. For a team that is looking to get younger, all signs point to this being Koivu’s final season as a member of the Wild. A season in which coach, Bruce Boudreau hinted at him being the third-line center, depending on his health.
If this is indeed Koivu’s final season as a member of the Wild, one has to wonder if the Wild will hang his jersey in the rafters when his career is over?
There are currently no other number hanging in the rafters at Xcel Enegy Center (except number one for the fans). Koivu is currently the franchise leader in games played (973), assists (487) and points (688). He needs 18 goals to tie Marian Gaborik for the franchise lead in goals. The last time Koivu scored 18 goals in a season was the 2016-2017 campaign. So it’s not as far fetched as one would think for him to accomplish that. However, with him coming off a torn ACL it would be surprising to see him reach the 18 goal plateau. Even if Koivu doesn’t pass Gaborik this season the Wild should retire his number once his career comes to an end.
Should the Wild retire Koivu’s number nine? Let’s hear other takes on the topic.
Lake Martin, Contributer for Gone Puck Wild
"He’s played his entire career here and has been nothing short of class. He reminds me a lot of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Nick Collison from the NBA. Nick wasn’t an all-star, wasn’t even a starter. But he helped build that franchise’s foundation, locker room, and what it meant to be a Thunder player. OKC fans referred to him as Mr. Thunder. Mikko Koivu is absolutely Mr. Wild, and has the stat line to back it up. Currently the franchise leading scorer and has been the captain for a decade now. His number and name deserves to be in the Rafters."
Brett Marshall, host of the Puckpourri Podcast
"I’m a little bias because Koivu has been my favorite player since day one of his rookie year, but yeah I think they should retire his number. You look at a new franchise like the Wild who have been around just under 20 years and hasn’t really done a whole lot to honor where they’ve come from. Koivu leads the franchise in so many scoring categories and has been the Captain of the team since 2009, so when it’s all said and done it’ll have been 10 years. He’s respected all across the league and if the Wild are going to retire a number, Mikko’s should be the first and obvious candidate. Put number nine in the rafters."