Wild insider Michael Russo dishes on Koivu trade and the team’s next captain

Some surprising developments out of Minny.

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Safe to say that it’s not much fun being a Minnesota Wild fan these days…

After an extremely disappointing cam-gain in 2018-19, the Wild are on pace to outdo themselves this season and… quite frankly… they look like they could struggle for awhile. 

And this isn’t even getting into the offseason drama that came out in the wake of Paul Fenton’s firing. Again… it’s not much fun being a Minnesota Wild fan these days.

About all the team’s fanbase does have to look forward to is the eventual dismantling of the team’s roster and some fresh blood. Longtime Wild players like Zach Parise, Ryan Sutter, Mikko Koivu and Jason Zucker will all be on the trade block should GM Bill Guerin elect to get aggressive.

Don’t count on a Koivu trade though, reports Wild insider Michael Russo. In his latest Q&A column for The Athletic, Russo answers a fan who asks:

Do you think Mikko Koivu would ever consider waiving his no-move clause by the deadline or if not sign somewhere else as a free agent next year?

Russo’s response:

Good question, too, Andy. In Saturday’s Koivu feature on Koivu in advance of his 1,000th game, I talked to more than a dozen people who know him well and pretty much every single person thinks Koivu won’t entertain playing elsewhere. If the Wild are still in the thick of a playoff race by the Feb. 24 trade deadline, I can’t see Guerin approaching Koivu about waiving. If the Wild are out of it, Guerin will have to decide whether he shops Koivu and then whether it’s worth broaching this subject with his captain. Personally, I don’t think Koivu would consider leaving his kids behind for a couple months just to chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere.Now, if the Wild decide after the season that it’s time to move on and they don’t want to extend his contract, Koivu will then have a mammoth decision to make as to whether he wants to retire or put on another team’s sweater. I asked his brother Saku Koivu this question by phone last week and he said, “Him being 36 now, at this age, I really don’t see him anywhere else other than a Wild jersey. It really means everything to Mikko that he’s played only for one team, that he’s been captain in Minnesota for so long, that he’s been their franchise player. For me, it would be really weird to see him in any other jersey than the Wild.”

In other words… “He ain’t goin’ nowhere, no how.”

When Koivu’s time with the Wild does come to an end though… who will be next on tap to wear the “C” as team captain?

Again from Russo:

“I’ll stay consistent on this one, and I’d give it to Jared Spurgeon. I think it’s too soon for somebody like Luke Kunin and I personally feel the team shouldn’t choose between Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. Spurgeon just signed a seven-year, $53.025 million extension (richest contract in franchise history in terms of an average salary of $7.575 million) starting next season and I can’t convey what type of good citizen this guy is. Besides Spurgeon bringing it nightly on the ice, there’s few better influences and more respected teammates in that locker room than him. He’s a gem and I’d bet every player would embrace Spurgeon as their captain.”

Hard to argue with Spurgeon as a choice. If Suter stays with the team, he would likely be an option, as well. Or what about a young gun like Matt Dumba? 

For Russo's full Q&A article, click below: