Koivu Deal: Just Another Poor Contract by Chuck Fletcher

So Chuck Fletcher signed Mikko Koivu to a 2 year extension worth $11 million. ?

I’ve been monitoring the response to Mikko’s extension and it’s funny how many people are responding with “yeah lets reward our captain” or “he is the definition of the Minnesota Wild”. If Mikko Koivu is the definition of the Minnesota Wild, what does that say about professional hockey in Minnesota?

The Wild have struggled in the playoffs since the magical 2003 playoff run which, funny, Mikko Koivu wasn’t a part of. Mikko signed his “Joe Mauer” type contract in 2011, worth 6.75 million a season. Did he justify the contract he was rewarded with in 2011? You read that article from Hockey Wilderness and tell me what you think.

So what does Fletcher do after overpaying Koivu for the last 6 years? He signs him to another OVERPAID CONTRACT.

Koivu’s not a franchise player. He isn’t Toews, Kane, or Crosby. He is a great defensive center, but he is average offensively. He scored 58 points last season, 40 of which were assists. He hasn’t had over 20 goals since 2010… Yet, fans are okay with Fletcher giving him $11 million over 2 years?

Players don’t get better at 35, which Koivu will be turning in March. Koivu’s CF% (CORSI) has been dropping since 2013 as you can see below. Yes, he goes against other top lines, but he always has! The NHL is getting faster and the Wild just rewarded an aging captain who has given us effort, but no championships.

No automatic alt text available.

 

People want to talk about his “leadership”…

Every year the Wild go through a huge losing streak. Doesn’t the Captain take blame for that? What about the playoff appearances and failures in his time here? What about last year’s playoff disaster? I’m not saying Mikko should take the blame for all of these, but if we are giving him raises based on his leadership, then aren’t these factors we should consider?

What Fletcher should have done:

The Wild should have let Koivu’s contract run out and re-negotiated next summer. If he is as loyal as everyone thinks, he would be okay with waiting for an extension until after this season. Waiting allows Koivu to try and prove he’s worth that type of money. If the Wild win a Stanley Cup and Koivu has a career year then give him whatever the f**k he wants.

Instead, Chuck Fletcher just gave this team another poor contract, pushing the Wild further from contention with his poor salary cap management. What if Dumba blossoms this year and he needs more cap space than expected? What if Zucker scores 30 goals? It’s obvious the Wild’s GM is only concerned about hurting Mikko’s feelings instead of worrying about winning a Stanley Cup. As a lifelong fan, I think Mikko is great guy and good hockey player, but salary cap management and solid drafting wins cups, not rewarding aging veterans.

Zak Klosowski
Minnesota Sports Fan @RealMNSportsFan