The Columbus Blue Jackets needed to improve up the middle.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen is ensuring they do just that.
Days after acquiring center Max Domi in a trade with the Montreal Canadiens, the Blue Jackets announced the signing of free agent center and former Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu.
Koivu, 37, agreed to terms on a 1-year deal worth $1.5 million. The 6'3", 220-pound native of Turku, Finland played his entire 1,028 game career with the Wild and is the only full-time captain in Minnesota history.
"Mikko Koivu has been a very consistent, productive two-way player in the National Hockey League for many years," said Kekalainen.
"He is a great leader, has impeccable character, and will be a valuable addition to our young team. We are very excited that he has chosen to continue his career as a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets."
During the 2019-20 season, Koivu had four goals and 17 assists in 55 games. In the previous season, Koivu was limited to just 48 games but scored eight times to go with 21 assists. Prior to 2018, Koivu had 12 consecutive seasons of at least 10 goals and 25 assists.
Likely to fit as a third-line center, Koivu is a strong hand in the dot. His 53.1% win rate last season was just slightly below his career 53.7% average. Aside from his rookie season, Koivu has never been below the 50% threshold during his 15-year career.
The 6th overall draft pick in the 2001 draft, Koivu was named the official captain of the Wild early in the 2009-10 season.
When it was announced in September that Koivu would not return to Minnesota, Wild general manager Bill Guerin issued a statement, saying: "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."