NHL free agency for 2020 is underway!
For each key signing, Emily Kaplan, Chris Peters and Greg Wyshynski will be assessing the player’s fit with his new team, weighing whether the terms of the contract make sense and serving up an overall grade.
We’ll be grading the most notable offseason signings below, so come back for updates as deals are completed throughout the fall.
Trades: Grading every big deal
Terms: One year, $1.5 million
Where does he fit: Koivu should slot in as the third- or fourth-line center, with Pierre-Luc Dubois and Max Domi manning the No. 1 and No. 2 center roles for at least the next two seasons (while Domi is under contract). Koivu’s arrival also means that Boone Jenner can slide to left wing.
At age 37, Koivu isn’t the same player that he was for a bulk of his 15-year career with the Minnesota Wild — where he is the career leader in points (709) assists (504) and Hockey Reference’s goals created metric (245.5) — but he remains extremely competent defensively. Don’t expect much in terms of offensive production, as Koivu scored just four goals and 21 points in 55 games last season. He’s only four years removed from being named a Selke Trophy finalist, but has seen his ice time decrease in each of the last three seasons, culminating with 15:34 minutes per game this past season, on fourth-line duties.
Koivu, the longtime Wild captain, seems to be OK with a more limited role and remains extremely competitive. Sometimes we worry about how certain players will respond to John Tortorella’s demanding style; Koivu is not one of those players. In fact, the two seem like a perfect match.