Wild GM Bill Guerin announces team won't re-sign Mikko Koivu

Minnesota Wild centre Mikko Koivu (9) vies for the puck. (John Locher/AP)

Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin announced Friday the team will not be re-signing captain Mikko Koivu for the 2020-21 season.

"Mikko Koivu was a true leader both on and off the ice during his 15-year career with the Wild," reads the team's statement on the decision. "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, who has played his entire 15-year NHL career in Minnesota, has captained the Wild since 2009. The 37-year-old is the franchise leader in games played (1,028), assists (504) and points (709).

In 2019-20, Koivu recorded four goals and 21 points in 55 regular season games while averaging 15:34 of ice time per game. The goals, points and ice time totals were the Turku, Finland native's lowest in a season since his rookie year in 2005-06.

The announcement to move on from the club's long-time captain is just the latest in a flurry of big roster decisions by Guerin over the past few days. The team signed defenceman Jonas Brodin to a seven-year, $42-million extension on Sept. 15 and traded veteran Eric Staal to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Marcus Johansson the next day.

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