Mikko Koivu’s NHL career might not be finished, but it appears his time with the Wild has come to an end.
Koivu, the Wild’s longtime captain and all-time leading scorer, was believed to have been informed by general manager Bill Guerin in exit meetings that he won’t be returning to the team, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic.
Koivu, 37, the sixth-overall pick by the Wild in 2001, spent 15 seasons with the team and holds the franchise lead in numerous categories. Koivu was one of the Wild’s top centers for years, but this past season he was demoted to a role on the fourth line. He accepted that assignment, but Guerin has made it clear he wants a culture change with the team and that means jettisoning some familiar faces.
Guerin is in search of a top-line center but those aren’t easy to find and, if he trades for one, the Wild likely will be moving a few more players that are well known at Xcel Energy Center.
While the Wild have yet to make an official announcement on Koivu, they also haven’t announced anything about the Winter Classic, which remains scheduled to be played on Jan. 1, 2021, against the St. Louis Blues at Target Field. In fairness, this is more of an NHL issue and a subject that figures to be addressed following the Stanley Cup Finals.
The NHL reportedly has been considering options for the 2020-21 schedule, and all indications are that with the coronavirus pandemic still ongoing the Winter Classic will be postponed.