Wild forward Mikko Koivu will miss the remainder of the 2018-19 season after suffering a torn ACL and meniscus in his right knee, the team announced Wednesday. The veteran captain is slated to undergo surgery Friday.
Koivu left the Wild’s 5-4 loss to the Sabres on Tuesday night after colliding with forward Tage Thompson in the neutral zone. The forward immediately collapsed to the ice after the two players’ knees jammed together. It quickly became apparent that Koivu might have a significant injury as he needed help off the ice.
“It’s not the greatest situation to be in,” forward Charlie Coyle said of Koivu’s absence, via the Star Tribune. “He’s such a huge part on the ice, in the locker room. He’s our leader – faceoff, defense, everything. He does it all, and you can’t really replace him.”
As Coyle said, the Wild will miss Koivu as they battle for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference. The team currently holds a wild card bid with 57 points in 53 games, but it’s lost three in a row and posted a 12-15-3 record since Thanksgiving. Those are worrisome trends with several teams, including the recently surging Blackhawks, chasing them in the standings.
Koivu, who turns 36 in March, posted eight goals and 21 assists in 48 games with the Wild this season. In each of the previous two seasons, he finished in the top three in Selke Trophy voting as one of the league’s premier defensive forwards.