Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Just How Valuable Is Mikko Koivu

Photo: James Guillory/USA Today
Yesterday, the Wild were given a tremendous blow when it was announced that team captain Mikko Koivu would miss the next four weeks after having surgery to repair a fracture on his foot. The injury now means that youngsters Mikael Granlund, Charlie Coyle, and Erik Haula will be playing much bigger roles to fill the void.

The injury was also a chance for the Koivu haters out there to voice how worthless he is, in comparison to the other top line centers in this league. So on that note, lets measure up where Koivu stacks against those centers.

If you are looking at the more traditional stats, (and by what most of you think about Koivu, are you) you find Mikko sitting middle of the pack. Among all NHL centers, his 35 points (tied-18th place in NHL), 27 assists (T-9th), 13 power play points (T-11th), and .80 points per game (25th). His only top five stat is average time on ice, which has him 3rd among centers with 21:34.

Also take into consideration that you are putting Koivu on the same leaderboards as elite NHL players Crosby, Giroux, Toews, and Kopitar. So don't be too down on him just because he is not top five or top ten.

But its deep in those advanced stats, where you can truly find the value of Mikko Koivu. Just because he doesn't keep up with the best in the league in terms of points, doesn't mean he isn't doing the right thing.

Among all NHL centers who have played 90% of their team's games or more, Koivu is consistently in the top 10 of the more advanced stats. Like for instance, he is 7th in the NHL with a 57.8 Corsi For percentage. Then measure his CF percentage against the team's CF percentage (better known as CF% Rel), and you have a difference of +10.8% for Koivu which ranks him 2nd in the NHL. He is also 6th in Fenwick For percentage (57.6%) and 2nd in FF% rel (10.1%).

So to sum up what you just read, the Wild are pretty good at puck possession, generating shots, etc when Koivu is on the ice. Unfortunately, it often just doesn't find its way to the back of the net. Oh and by the way, Koivu also plays a huge role on the penalty kill, faceoff circle, and when the game gets to shootouts. Not exactly an easy player to replace is it?

If you truly hate Mikko Koivu because of his "lack of scoring", please just stop and reevaluate how you view hockey. He is a very gifted TWO-WAY player, who excels at both ends of the ice. It is truly better for this team to have him on the ice when the game is on the line. Replacing him will not be easy for Granlund, Coyle, and Haula.

Good news is, having the surgery accelerated his rehab time by a month. Bad news is, Koivu is still out a month. You best hope the team can stay somewhat afloat while he is out.

Follow Giles on Twitter @gilesferrell

No comments:

Post a Comment