After playing in the Finnish junior leagues, Koivu began playing for TPS of the SM-liiga as a seventeen-year-old in 2000–01, the same team for which older brother Saku also once played. He was selected 6th overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Minnesota Wild and continued to play with TPS Turku for three more seasons.
Koivu moved to North America in the 2004–05 to play for Minnesota's AHL affiliate, the Houston Aeros, while that NHL season was canceled. The next season, he made his NHL debut with the Wild, scoring 21 points in his rookie season. In 2006–07, Koivu improved to a career-high 20 goals, 34 assists and 54 points. Injuries slowed him down in his third season; in a game against the Vancouver Canucks, defenseman Mattias Öhlund retaliated to an unpenalized elbow from Koivu and slashed him, breaking a bone in Koivu's leg. Ohlund was given a four game suspension and Koivu missed 24 games.
Before the 2008–09 season started, Koivu was announced as a permanent alternate captain for the entire season along with teammate Andrew Brunette, assuming they were not captain for the month (the Wild captaincy was rotated among the players on a monthly basis, each season). But Koivu started the 2008–09 season as team captain for the months of October and November. Though rumors swirled that 'then' Wild coach Jacques Lemaire was close to ending the captain rotation and naming Koivu the permanent captain, he was replaced by Kim Johnsson in December, and went back to his role as alternate captain. In January 2009, Koivu was once again honored with the Wild captaincy after only a month's pause.
On October 16, 2008, Koivu tied a Wild franchise record for most assists in a game with four against the Florida Panthers. He also added a goal for a career-high five-point game as the Wild defeated Florida 6–2. In July 2009, it was announced that Koivu would be on the cover of Finland's version of the video game, NHL 10. He was also voted the best Finn by NHL.com.
Koivu was named the first permanent captain in franchise history (the team rotated alternate captains for one more season) on October 20, 2009, and during the ensuing offseason signed a then franchise record seven-year, $47 million contract extension on July 16, 2010, which went into effect during the 2011–2012 season.
On January 12, 2012, Koivu was selected to his first NHL All-Star game.
Read more about this topic: Mikko Koivu
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