As the rest of the hockey world awaits the (re)signing of Ilya Kovalchuk, the Minnesota Wild locked in their captain and franchise player Mikko Koivu for seven years and 47 million.
Koivu established career highs in goals and assists this season after breaking out in the 2008-2009 campaign. His playmaking ability is what defines the Finnish center as he really starts to show why the Wild drafted him 6th overall back in 2001.
As a fantasy owner, a player like this comes around somewhat often but Koivu transcended to a must-own pivot. His intangibles and leadership do not always translate to the scorecard especially when his supporting cast (Guillaume Latendresse and Martin Havlat excluded) would not crack the top six on most other teams.
Koivu finished last season with 71 points with only ten other centers finishing above him in the scoring charts. He has increased his point totals every season of his career so he should be able to continue the upward swing and come near the 80 point plateau.
Interestingly enough, of those ten centers who finished higher than him in scoring, six of them would be defined as classic playmakers. Perhaps this is a growing trend where we no longer see high scoring centers and base most of a centerman’s value on the assist totals.
Make no mistake, his 6.75 cap hit will not sting as much as Scott Gomez at 7.4 or even Brad Richards at 7.8 million.