The 2013 season has ended for the Minnesota Wild. Every wild fan would agree that it ended too quickly. The wild were eliminated in 5 games by arguably the best team in the NHL. It was the team's first playoff appearance in five years, and their first with Mikko Koivu as their captain. The 30 year old was looking to produce the way he had in the 2007-08 playoffs,where he scored 4 goals and 5 points in just 5 short games played. Unfortunately, that was not the case this postseason. His skating at times was questionable, was a non factor on the power play (as was everybody else), and he failed to produce a single point in the very short postseason run. After game five Yeo had this to say on the captain: " I feel bad for Mikko. He did a lot of the right things.. and just didn't get rewarded." Although that may be mostly true, many fans believe that is a poor excuse for a guy who is supposed to be our leader, someone who is supposed to spark the offense when no one else can.
So what is in store for the wild's 30 year old captain? From what I have read thus far, we have no reason to believe that Koivu is going anywhere. His contract isn't even over until the 2017-18 season, but should Koivu possibly be demoted in a sense? Throughout the year, and especially after the playoffs ended, fans have been screaming for Zach Parise to take the title as the team's captain. Although he is one of the best scorers and leaders in the NHL, is it something Koivu really does deserve?
Both players have put up fantastic numbers over there career. Koivu has scored 119 goals and 279 assists in 536 career games. He is a three-time 20 plus goal scorer and has a career faceoff percentage of .528. Only Koivu's rookie season did he not manage to win at least 50 percent of his faceoffs. He was a huge factor in the face off circle this season. Although he was thrown out countless times, Koivu managed to win 524 out of 971 faceoffs (54 percent). Zach Parise has also been a pure stud since he joined the league in 2003. He has scored 212 goals and put up 236 assists in 550 career games. Parise has managed to score at least 30 goals in five of his nine seasons in the league. He lead the team this year with 18 goals and 20 assists. He also was one of the best in the league in shots on net with 182. Now obviously Parise is more of a scorer, while Koivu usually racks up the assists, but it's not just about the numbers, it's the way you play on the ice and Parise, no doubt has zero quit in him. There have been times through Koivus short career as a captain where he seemed to have lacked the leadership skills to boost his team in tough situations. People also seem to think that Parise is always producing win or lose, but if you really dig deep, the statistics may change your way of thinking.
When the wild won this season( not including playoffs), Koivu managed to put up 8 goals and 19 assists. Parise scored 11 goals and 16 assists. How many points does that give both players? 27 points. I bet you didn't expect that. In Minnesota wild losses, Parise still managed to score 7 goals and 4 assists. Koivu had 3 goals and 7 assists. That's 11 points for Parise and 10 for Koivu. I have one more for you guys. when the wild were trailing, Parise came through, producing 9 goals and 6 assists. Koivu had 2 goals and 12 assists. That gives Parise 15 points and Koivu 14 points. Yes I know Parise puts in more goals, and yes he is more aggresive on the puck, but whenthe wild were in tough situations this year and had their backs against the wall, Koivu produced just as much as Parise. Now, I am not taking anything away from Parise. He is personally, one of my most favorite players and has a pure raw talent that few players have. But I think Koivu does deserve a little more credit than what he's been given.
It will be interesting to see what the wild's staff decides to do this summer. Maybe they will bump Koivu down to second line or just hand the title as the teams captain to Parise. Whatever does end up happening, I believe Koivu is under some pressure. It's time for him to step up next year and lead this team deep into the playoffs.