Mikko Koivu has been one of the top two-way centers in NHL, even if that’s never quite been enough for Minnesota Wild fans that expect a lot of offensive output from him. Koivu has been a solid offensive player though, including 54 points (11 goals an 43 assists) in 65 games last season, but he has just five points (two goals, three assists) so far this season. Koivu missed time last season with an ankle injury, but he has played in all 19 of Minnesota’s games to this point.
The most notable explanation for Koivu’s drop in production is his shooting percentage, which has been trending downward (7.5 percent in 2013-14) and is just 3.5 percent so far this season. He’s actually shooting more on a per-game basis to this point in the season (three shots on goal per game) than he did last year (2.3 shots per game), which may be a product of having the fewest shot attempts from his linemates of any Wild forward heading into this past weekend (per Hockey Wilderness.com) and a resulting increase in his own willingness to shoot. Being on the same line, up until recently, as Thomas Vanek (one goal so far) stands out as a primary reason for Koivu’s lack of assists in particular.
The 2011-2012 season was the start of Koivu’s seven-year, $42.75 million deal with the Wild, and with three more full seasons remaining on the contract it looks like a big challenge to trade him. But the salary cap hit has been fairly reasonable ($6.75 million, via CapGeek.com), and will remain at that number from here to the end of the contract.
As could be expected Koivu has a solid plus/minus for his career, with a +27, but even that number is just a +1 over the last two seasons. He also ranks highly in face-off percentage (57.3 percent; 13th in the league-minimum 50 face-offs taken) and total face-off wins (235, tied for eighth in the league) this season, maintaining his reputation as a very good face-off man.
Right now looks like a low point in Koivu’s trade value, at least when looking at his offensive production. But dealing him should be a possibility between now and the trade deadline in early March, and even if Koivu’s point total doesn’t climb significantly his prowess in the face-off circle still gives him a lot of value. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher needs to be willing to take offers for Koivu, and if the right deal comes there should be no hesitation to send him elsewhere.