The Minnesota Wild locked their captain up for a long, long time today, handing Mikko Koivu a seven year, $47.25 million deal. According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the deal comes with a $6.75 million cap hit.
Yes, those numbers are correct.
Are you surprised that the Wild handed Koivu that money, essentially proclaiming him the most important player that's ever put on a Wild uniform?
Well, you're probably not a Wild fan, then. Over at Hockey Wilderness and amongst fans on Twitter, the sentiment is very positive about this deal. They see Koivu much like WIld GM Chuck Fletcher does. Here's Fletcher, as quoted by Russo:
"I am pleased to announce that our captain, Mikko Koivu, has signed a seven-year contract extension which will keep him in a Wild uniform through the 2017-18 season," said Fletcher. "This is an historic day for the Wild. Mikko is the flag in the ground that we will build our team around. He is our franchise player, an excellent leader and an exceptional hockey player."
And this quote from Fletcher, via Yahoo!'s Greg Wyshynski:
"To define Mikko by his statistics is to miss the point of what he's all about," he said.
Maybe this deal will open some eyes to just how good a player Koivu really is, but ultimately, the real impact we'll see is when other players of a similar ilk begin to hit free agency.