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Updated: July 15th, 2010 5:14pm
Koivu signs seven-year extension, reportedly richest in team history

Koivu signs seven-year extension, reportedly richest in team history

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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When Mikko Koivu first heard the Minnesota Wild was interested in signing him to a long-term contract extension about three weeks ago, he told his agent to get the deal done.

On Thursday, Koivu got his wish -- in the form of the richest contract in club history.

The Wild re-signed its captain to a seven-year contract extension through the 2017-18 season, locking up the 27-year-old through the prime of his career one year before he could have hit the free-agent market.

"This is an historic day for the Wild," general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a conference call on Thursday night.

"Mikko is our captain, our top offensive player, our top defensive forward and truly, our franchise player. So, we're very appreciative of the commitment Mikko has made in the Wild for the next eight seasons, counting this coming season, and we look forward to working with Mikko to building a championship-caliber club here in St. Paul."

Multiple reports said Koivu's extension is worth $47.25 million and includes a no-trade clause and five signing bonuses throughout the deal.

It was the latest bold move in an offseason that's also seen Fletcher sign priority free agents Matt Cullen and Eric Nystrom to multi-year deals and trade for enforcer Brad Staubitz.

"If I didn't believe in our organization or the team, I would never sign a long-(term) deal like that," Koivu said from his hometown of Turku, Finland.

"It's a hockey city. I think the things that we did in this past summer and since July 1, I think all the players are the kind of players that you don't want to play again, and I think that's the best way to describe them. ... Playing against them, you know they do want to win, and they know what it takes to win, and that's why I really like the way we're going."

Koivu has led the Wild in points and assists the past two seasons, setting career highs in goals (22), assists (49) and points (71).

Asked if he was prepared to play out the last year of his old deal without an extension, Koivu said, "I do believe that when you go into the season and there's things that is going around the team, I think it's not good for a team. That was my first goal, but always, you have to be realistic. Both sides have to be happy with the things and the way it's going, and I think we were."

• Also Thursday, the Wild signed third-string goalie Anton Khudobin to a one-year, two-way contract, ending speculation Khudobin could opt to play in Russia instead.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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