It’s been close to a month since Minnesota Wild captain Mikko Koivu last appeared in a game. Luckily, it’s looking like he could be nearing a return.
Koivu suffered an apparent lower-body injury against the Florida Panthers on December 3 — two days after his heroic performance in his 1,000th game. The 36-year-old practiced in full for the Wild on Monday and, according to Wild head coach Bruce Boudreau, will be a game-time decision for Minnesota’s New Year’s Eve contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Koivu has collected 12 points (two goals, 10 assists) in 28 games this season. While that point total may not jump off the page, it’s his defensive play that’s made him a nearly irreplaceable figure in Minnesota’s top six over the years.
Once he returns, Koivu will likely be inserted back into the top six alongside wingers Zach Parise and Kevin Fiala. In over 139 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time together, that trio owns a solid 51.17 CF% and a very good GF% of 62.50. Without Koivu suited up, though, Parise and Fiala average a much less impressive CF% (47.50) and GF% (55.56) at 5-on-5.
Minnesota has gone 6-5-1 in its last 12 games without Koivu. At the time of his injury, the Wild were in the midst of what wound up being an 11-game point streak.