Mikko Koivu, face of the Minnesota Wild, will not return to team

Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild talks with an official against the Boston Bruins during the game at the Xcel Energy Center on February 1, 2019 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. ((Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images))

Mikko Koivu's time with the Minnesota Wild has come to an end. Wild general manager Bill Guerin announced Friday the team will not re-sign the longtime captain for the upcoming season.

Koivu, 37, has played all 15 seasons and 1,028 career games in Minnesota.

"Mikko Koivu was a true leader both on and off the ice during his 15-year career with the Wild," Guerin said in a statement. "From being drafted sixth overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, making his NHL debut on Nov. 11, 2005, being named the team's first full-time captain on Oct. 20, 2009 and wearing the 'C' for the last 11 seasons to becoming the first player to play all 1,000 NHL games with Minnesota on Dec. 1, 2019, Mikko's legacy will live on forever in our organization."

"His hard work, dedication and team-first mentality will be extremely difficult to replace in our lineup. Off the ice, Mikko's impact in the State of Hockey was immeasurable as he went out of his way to make a positive impact on so many people in our community, including his charitable contributions to Children's Minnesota. We thank Mikko for everything he has done for our organization and wish him and his family the best in the future."

Koivu played in 55 regular season games for the Wild this year before the NHL halted play on March 11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He had a career-low four goals and 17 assists, and didn’t register a point for the Wild in the Edmonton bubble.

Koivu has options. He could return to his native Finland and play, he could retire and either get into coaching or a front office role somewhere.

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