Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Who Is Saku Koivu? Will He Return?

Saku Koivu is one of the most important players to the Anaheim Ducks. Many Ducks fans remember when he came to the team in the 2008-09 season, but not many fans followed his career prior.

Koivu is a well experienced player who brought strength and perseverance to the Ducks. He is contemplating retirement as fellow countrymen Teemu Selanne has this season. He will take some time to determine what his decision will be, but until then he is still a Duck.

Many fans should  know that he has not spent the majority of his career as a Duck, however, not many fans know there is another team that owes a lot of it’s success to him. That team is the Montreal Canadiens.

He began his career in the SM-liiga, playing for TPS and would return during the lockout season of 2004-05 in the NHL.

Koivu was drafted in 1993 by the Montreal Canadiens, but remained in Finland to continue to play for TPS for two more years. He moved to Canada to begin playing in the 1995-96 season. During his rookie season with the NHL he was 4th in scoring for rookies.

Saku struggled with various leg injuries from 1996 to 1999 missing a number of games. He was named team captain in 1999 making him the 27th captain in team history and the first European born captain. Although he was captain he still missed many games due to his leg and shoulder injuries.

On September 6, 2001 his world was rocked as he was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma and missed almost all of the 2001-2002 season. He received a great outpouring of support from Montreal Canadiens fans and other NHL players, including Mario Lemieux and John Cullen who successfully beat cancer and returned to play in the league.

Amazingly, Koivu was able to return to return for the 80th game of the season where he received an 8 minute standing ovation. He helped the team beat the top-seeded Boston Bruins in the playoffs. He received the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his courage through all his adversity that his diagnosis brought him.

The 2008-09 season made Koivu along with Jean Beliveau the longest serving captain in Canadiens history. After the season Saku became a free agent who then signed with the Anaheim Ducks.

He continued to play for Anaheim and on October 24, 2013 he received a standing ovation in what may be his last time to visit Montreal as a player in the NHL.

The question still remains, will Koivu return for another season with the Anaheim Ducks?

There are advantages to both conclusions for Saku, but as most fans we wish that he chooses to stay.

Advantages to retirement

Saku can get back to family life with his young children. The Ducks can free up additional money for younger, quicker players.

Disadvantages to retirement

Koivu will have never won a Stanley Cup. Fans that are sad of his leaving or inability to form a contract will refuse to buy tickets.

In favoring younger players over Koivu’s experience, especially in playoff situations, Anaheim is taking a great risk on going with inexperienced players.

To leave or not to leave.

The decision is a difficult one. As Koivu searches his soul for his ultimate choice, time will tell what he will choose. As fans await his decision, we stand on pins and needles. Soon he will put us out of our misery as we pace back and forth over his fate.

Whatever decision Koivu chooses, to stay or to go, we will see if it was a good or bad decision.

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Saku Koivu

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