Saku Koivu’s little brother could have decided to retire or return to Europe after the Minnesota Wild decided not to rehire him, but he says he’s ready for a new start with the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Having signed a one-year contract, Mikko Koivu saw his 15-season association with the Wild come to a somewhat bitter end. He would have liked to try to help his old formation again, except that the desire was not mutual. So here he is in the same team as Pierre-Luc Dubois and Max Domi. The one with 1028 matches of experience in the National League should therefore serve as a mentor to his youngest teammates and prove to be a valuable asset. And above all, he wants to look ahead.
“When I got the message from Minnesota that this was not going to continue, it was initially hard to accept, of course. Once you go through that kind of thing, you think about your next challenge, the new chapter in your life, ”he told NHL.com.
“Now I have this opportunity with the Blue Jackets and I’m very excited about it,” he continued. I can’t wait to start here and get to know the players, the club, the city, the fans and all that comes with it. It is an exciting time. ”
Erase the past
Recent years have not been easy for the Finn, limited to 21 points – including just four goals – in 55 games during the last campaign. Also, he had previously suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in February 2019, which significantly slowed his cruising speed upon recovery.
However, this does not detract from his successful career and his new employer is happy to count on his presence.
“He’s had a great career,” said Jackets general manager and fellow Koivu Jarmo Kekalainen. He’s a great player with character, a very strong leader on both sides of the ice. He’s smart and does well in all facets of the game and in all places of the ice. His anticipation is very good, without forgetting that he has the physique and that he fights. He’s solid with the stick and on faceoffs. ”
Also recalling Koivu’s qualities as a playmaker, the GM could see him pivot the third line of the formation of head coach John Tortorella, if Domi finds himself in the middle of the second unit. With Dubois at the heart of the first line and Riley Nash driving the fourth, Columbus considers himself in a good position.
“I think we’ve always talked about the importance of being stronger in the middle,” said Kekalainen. I believe that’s what we did with Max Domi and Mikko Koivu. We are a very strong club in the center […] and we still have Boone Jenner who can also evolve there, as well as Alexandre Texier who could be moved there eventually. ”