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Quick exit: Mikko Koivu announces retirement after only seven games with Blue Jackets

Panthers Blue Jackets Hockey
Columbus Blue Jackets forward Mikko Koivu, right, controls the puck in front of Florida Panthers forward Patric Hornqvist during an NHL hockey game in Columbus, Ohio, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021. The Blue Jackets won 3-2 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

Mikko Koivu’s stay with the Columbus Blue Jackets was a brief one.

The longtime Wild captain, who signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Blue Jackets as a free agent during the offseason, announced his retirement on Tuesday after playing in only seven games in his 16th NHL season. Koivu’s start to the season was delayed until two weeks ago because he was on the COVID-19 list. The 37-year-old center one goal and one assist for Columbus and did not have a point in his past five games before being a healthy scratch on Monday against Carolina.

Koivu, the sixth-overall pick by Minnesota in the 2001 draft, served as the Wild’s captain for 11 seasons and was the first player in franchise history to play all 1,000 games as a member of the Wild. Koivu appeared in 1,028 games with the team, scoring 205 goals with 504 assists and 709 points.

Koivu is the all-time franchise leader in games played, assists, points, plus-minus (plus-70) and shots (2,270). His best statistical season came in 2009-10 when he established career-highs with 22 goals, 49 assists and 71 points. An excellent two-way player during the prime of his career, Koivu finished third in voting for the Selke Trophy in 2016-17. The award goes to the forward voted as the best to excel in the defensive aspects of the game.

There was some thought that Koivu would retire after Wild general manager Bill Guerin decided not to bring him back last summer following the team’s lose to Vancouver in the qualifying round of the NHL’s postseason bubble in Edmonton. Koivu had finished the season playing on the Wild’s fourth line.

We can now let the debate begin as to whether Koivu’s No. 9 should be retired by the Wild.