ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Saku Koivu sat down with Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray this month to measure the direction of the team. He heard what he needed from his boss.
The Ducks are coming off their second non-playoffs season in three years, and the clock is ticking on Koivu's ultimate goal.
"I want to win," Koivu said Wednesday during a conference call. "At this point in my career that's the No.1 priority and in talking with Bob and hearing his plan ... I'm confident they're going to make a push. With the core group of young players we have, the future looks bright.
"It's very clear they want to make a push and get a playoff team for next year."
Koivu, who turns 38 in November, signed a one-year extension that was announced Wednesday. It is worth $3 million.
He appeared in his third season with Anaheim, played in his 1,000th game and was again one of its most consistent two-way forwards. He scored 11 goals and 38 points with a plus-7 rating in 74 games. His value could be measured more in his 35 takeaways, which tied him for the team lead, and his 52.4 faceoff win percentage. Koivu ranked fourth among Ducks forwards in ice time at 18:07.
Koivu could have tested free agency and latched on with a team that would appear to be closer to a Stanley Cup than Anaheim. But, in addition to liking the team, Koivu likes the area and is hesitant to uproot his family from the Orange County residence they have called home for several years.
Koivu's signing means that the Ducks will return their second-line center from the past three seasons. The winger on that line is of course Teemu Selanne, who is pondering retirement.
Selanne led the Ducks in scoring at age 41, and Koivu acknowledged that "you cannot replace a player like that."
"We'd love to have him back," Koivu said. "He's a huge part of our team ... we'll keep our fingers crossed."
Life's about opportunity and how you respond to that opportunity, and obviously he must have some swagger about him, some confidence about him, because he was solid. He made some good saves. He was 6-foot-3 on every shot, which is a good thing for a goalie. He played well. We got a win.
— Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock on rookie goaltender Garret Sparks, who made 24 saves in his first NHL start, a 3-0 win vs. Oilers
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