Columbus Blue Jackets forward Mikko Koivu has decided to retire following a 16-year playing career in the National Hockey League, club General Manager and Alternate Governor Jarmo Kekalainen announced today.
Koivu, 37 has recorded 206 goals and 505 assists for 711 points with 594 penalty minutes and a cumulative +68 plus/minus rating in 1,035 career games with the Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild since making his NHL debut in 2005-06. He scored 10 or more goals 12 times, scored 40 or more points on 11 occasions and hit the 50-point mark seven times during his NHL career. He added 11-17-28 and 38 penalty minutes in 59 career outings during the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Turku, Finland native signed a one-year contract with Columbus on Oct. 9, 2020 and posted 1-1-2 and two penalty minutes in seven games with the club in 2020-21. Minnesota's first pick, sixth overall, at the 2001 NHL Draft, Koivu spent the first 15 years of his NHL career with the Wild and is the franchise's all-time leader in games played, assists and points and ranks second in goals with 205-504-709 with 592 penalty minutes in 1,028 games. He served as Minnesota's captain from 2009-20.
"This was not an easy decision for me as I have loved every minute of my short time in Columbus and really hoped to be able to help this team accomplish its goals this season, but the bottom line is I haven't been able to get to the level of play that I need to be true to myself and fair to my teammates, so the time is right for me to retire from hockey," said Koivu. "I have been extremely blessed and I am eternally grateful to the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations for the opportunities they have given me to live out my dreams of playing in the National Hockey League for the past 16 years."
Koivu was a standout performer for Finland in international competition. He represented his homeland at two Olympic Games (2006-silver medal, 2010-bronze medal), two World Cup of Hockey Tournaments (2004-2nd Place, 2016), six IIHF World Championships (2006-bronze medal, 2007-silver medal, 2008-bronze medal, 2011-gold medal, 2012, 2016-silver medal) and a pair of IIHF World Junior Championships (2001-silver medal, 2002-bronze medal). Among Finnish born players in NHL history, Koivu ranks fifth in points and assists and seventh in games played and goals.
"Mikko Koivu is a consummate pro and while we are disappointed that his time as a Blue Jacket was short, we understand and respect the decision he has made because it is the result of the deep respect he has for the game, our organization and his teammates," said Kekalainen. "I've known Mikko for a very long time and am proud of everything he has accomplished and how he has represented our club, the Minnesota Wild and Team Finland over the past two decades. I wish him many happy years as he transitions into the next chapter in his life."