Koivu out for Season

Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu has suffered a torn ACL ligament and meniscus in his right knee and will miss the remainder of the season as a result, the team announced Wednesday. The issue occurred Tuesday when the Wild took on the Buffalo Sabres in a 5-4 shootout-loss. Koivu is expected to have surgery to repair these injuries Friday.

The 35-year-old Koivu had scored eight goals and 29 points in 48 games prior to this injury. While Koivu’s offensive numbers haven’t jumped off the page in recent seasons, there’s no way to truly account for how important he is to the Wild on and off the ice.

In 973 games in his NHL career, the sixth-overall selection from the 2001 NHL Entry Draft has scored 201 goals and 688 points. He was closing in on 1,000 games in his career and will have to wait until next season to do so following this unfortunate injury.

In a subsequent move, the Wild have recalled Joel Eriksson Ek from the Iowa Wild. The 22-year-old has scored two goals and seven points in 36 games in the NHL this season as well as four goals and nine points in nine AHL contests.

Koivu Injury Leaves Wild in Trade Deadline Limbo

This injury is a major blow to the team and put the Wild in an awkward situation heading into the trade deadline.

In 53 games this season, the Wild have posted a 26-22-5 record, good for 57 points and the first wildcard spot in the Western Conference with a three-point lead on the Vancouver Canucks who have 54 points with one more game played than the Wild. The Wild are just three points out of third place in the Central Division and could have been considered buyers heading into the trade deadline.

With this injury to Koivu, the status of the Wild as far as a postseason push is concerned is now very much up in the air. Prior to this injury, the Wild had been using Koivu on their second-line between Zach  Parise and Charlie Coyle. The drop-off from there is significant, however, as Victor Rask and Matt Hendricks make up the third and fourth-line centers on the team respectively.

Wild center Victor Rask
Wild center Victor Rask (David Berding-USA TODAY )

The Wild made a trade to acquire Rask earlier in the season which saw Nino Niederreiter shipped off to the Carolina Hurricanes. It was a steep price to pay for a bottom-six center but the Wild felt it would be best for their depth down the middle.

Related: Wild Trade Niederreiter to Hurricanes for Rask

Unfortunately, things haven’t quite worked out the way they had planned as Rask has only scored one goal and two points in six games since joining the Wild. Niederreiter, on the other hand, has scored an impressive five goals and six points in seven games.

With this deal, the Wild may now be forced to move Coyle to center while promoting somebody else to the top-six in a winger position.

Wild center Charlie Coyle
Wild center Charlie Coyle (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Wild have long been rumored to be exploring trade options for Coyle and this injury does little to help dismiss those rumors and reports. If the Wild still think they can compete and view Coyle as more of a winger, they could try and swing another deal to bolster their center depth once again. If they feel they are no longer competitors, the Wild could then move Coyle for future assets who are potentially close to NHL ready with an eye towards the future.