For a team that needed depth down the middle and quality leadership around, it seemed like an obvious fit.
The next player on our list played just 7 games with the Blue Jackets, and most people will probably honestly look back and be surprised to remember that even happening. A lot of us spent much of his career wishing we could have a player like him – especially in his prime.
We would embarrass ourselves not to include Mikko Koivu on the list of greatest Finns to ever play in Columbus. He spent 15 years with the Minnesota Wild, racking up 1028 games, 205 goals, and 709 points – all while being a dominant two-way center and serving as captain for 11 seasons.
He signed a one-year deal with the Blue Jackets for the 2020-21 season, but unfortunately things really fell apart for that team. He would skate in just 7 games, scoring 1 goal and 1 assist, before announcing his retirement after being named a healthy scratch.
By that point in his career, Koivu was 37 years old and just hoping for one last run as a depth player. But the league is always becoming quicker, and father time catches up with everyone. The Blue Jackets were quickly falling apart that season, and in search of sparking the lineup, John Tortorella was trying to change things up.
We all wish it would have gone better for Mikko here. He was beloved by his teammates and respected around the league. For a team that needed depth down the middle and quality leadership around, it seemed like an obvious fit. But, things aren’t always perfect in action, and it just didn’t work out.
Koivu saw his number 9 raised to the rafters for the Minnesota Wild this past March, and as such will always be fondly remembered as one of the premier two-way forwards in the NHL in his era.