This is the worst news the Wild could have received. Koivu is their leader and best player. And as we have seen in previous years, the team has not done well without #9 in the lineup. And to make things worse, the team has won just once in the month of January, with him in the lineup, and they get to finish out this four game road trip against the Flyers (26-13-4) and Maple Leafs (22-17-5) without their captain.
Koivu becomes the fourth player from the Wild’s opening night top 6 (Heatley-Koivu-Setoguchi, Bouchard-Cullen-Latendresse), to miss an extended period of time with injury so far this season (Latendresse and Bouchard are still out with concussion symptoms). And as we have seen of late, this team has suffered due to the lack of healthiness from their most skilled players.
Last season, the Wild were still in the playoff hunt late in the season, but Koivu went down with a hand injury, and never returned. The Wild suffered dearly and went from playoff contenders to playoff spoilers almost instantly overnight. And with the way the team has played lately, you should expect a similar type of collapse with Koivu out.
Before this injury, the Wild had a slowly sinking ship, which one thought would eventually work itself out if players could stay out of the trainer’s room. Now, this season appears to be sinking faster than the Titanic did. By the time Koivu returns, the season may not be salvageable, and we should be looking at maybe trading away some free agents to be (Harding, Zanon, Brodziak, Stoner) and get a nice package in return for the future. The only way you can see this team staying afloat without Koivu, is if they dip into the prospect pool (something Chuck Fletcher does not want to do) and acquire a top line scorer (Something that has 0.1% chance of happening).
It’s very hard to be positive right now. As you can see, there is next to none in this post. But, this is the cold truth. This team is built around Mikko Koivu. He is their engine. And when he is out, it is not a pretty sight. Be prepared for the worst…it will be around until #9 returns.