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Numbers Game: Koivu Heads To Anaheim

Scott Cullen
7/9/2009 12:55:39 AM
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Ending a 13-season tenure with the Montreal Canadiens, Saku Koivu joined his fellow countryman, Teemu Selanne, in Anaheim.

Numbers Game covers Koivu's move to the Ducks.

The Ducks Get: C Saku Koivu.

Koivu, 34, has been a productive player for many years, though never achieving elite-type production, with a career-high 75 points in 2006-2007 (the same season in which he finished a career-worst minus-21).

In 2008-2009, Koivu was a strong second-line centre, playing just over 17 minutes per game and putting up 50 points and a plus-4 rating in 65 games.  His plus-4 rating was his best mark since 2002-2003.

Moving to Anaheim represents a solid opportunity for Koivu next season, both from the aspect of the Ducks being a strong contending team and in the sense that Koivu would figure to play with Teemu Selanne and Joffrey Lupul on the Ducks' second line. 

That duo combined to score 52 goals in 2008-2009 (albeit on different teams) and that's more than any pairing the Canadiens could muster alongside Koivu in a year when injuries limited the continuity on his wings in Montreal.

Koivu's arrival, while an upgrade for the Ducks, isn't good news for second-year centre Andrew Ebbet, who put up 32 points and a plus-8 rating in just 48 games as a rookie.  He might have been considered a bit of a sleeper for next season, but now could be too far down the depth chart to make a big offensive impact.

In Montreal, the Canadiens have Scott Gomez, Tomas Plekanec and Maxim Lapierre down the middle, making it apparent that Koivu was no longer in the Canadiens' plans after 641 points in 792 career games with le blue, blanc et rouge.

Signed for one year and $3.25-million, Koivu is a reasonable investment for the Ducks, in the hopes that Koivu and Selanne can provide better second-line scoring in Selanne's final NHL season.  Next year, Koivu will have the option of hitting the free agent market once again.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@ctv.ca

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