Mikko Koivu retires during 16th season
Koivu spent 15 seasons with the Minnesota Wild before joining the Blue Jackets for 2021.
The 37-year-old explained his decision to call it a career after recently inking a one-year pact with Columbus.
"This was not an easy decision for me as I have loved every minute of my short time in Columbus and really hoped to be able to help this team accomplish its goals this season, but the bottom line is I haven't been able to get to the level of play that I need to be true to myself and fair to my teammates, so the time is right for me to retire from hockey," Koivu said.
"I have been extremely blessed and I am eternally grateful to the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations for the opportunities they have given me to live out my dreams of playing in the National Hockey League for the past 16 years."
Koivu recorded one goal and one assist over seven games with the Blue Jackets this season while averaging 12:28 of ice time per contest.
Kekalainen expressed his gratitude toward Koivu and said he respects his decision.
"Mikko Koivu is a consummate pro, and while we are disappointed that his time as a Blue Jacket was short, we understand and respect the decision he has made because it is the result of the deep respect he has for the game, our organization, and his teammates," Kekalainen said.
Koivu finishes his NHL career with 206 goals and 505 assists in 1,035 games. He was also the Wild's first permanent captain in franchise history.
Additionally, Koivu served as a key member on several of Finland's international teams. He helped the country win Olympic silver and bronze in 2006 and 2010, respectively.