NHL Rumors: Is Calder candidate Kirill Kaprizov leaving the Minnesota Wild for Russia?

May 8, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) tosses a puck to a fan after a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

There is some trouble brewing in Minnesota as Wild rookie superstar, Kirill Kaprizov is talking with a KHL to stay in Russia. NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes broke the story yesterday that Kaprizov was in Russia and negotiating with CSKA for a return that would also include the Olympics.

Kirill Kaprizov not looking for a long term deal with Wild

The fact that these rumors are coming to light in conjunction with Kaprizov in Moscow for a friend’s wedding could just be circumstantial. However, as Michael Russo of The Athletic points out, Weekes’ agent during his playing days is also Kaprizov’s.

nhl rumors kirill kaprizov
Apr 24, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro (38) defends against Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) during the first period at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Currently, like most young players on an entry-level-contract, Kaprizov has no leverage. The one chip he can play in negotiations is the threat of going back to Russia. And it appears it isn’t an idle one. Russo details the main issue in his most recent article.

The Wild want to sign the soon-to-be rookie of the year to a seven- or eight-year contract that would assuredly make him the highest-paid player in franchise history. It would also buy out four or five years of Kaprizov’s unrestricted free agency rights. Kaprizov’s camp, on the other hand, is looking for not just shorter term, but it sure sounds like they’re looking for a two- or three-year bridge deal.

The Athletic

It is odd that a player would look to make less in both money and term. So why is Kaprizov only looking for a bridge deal? Does he have he have his sights on free agency so he can pick exactly where he wants to play out his NHL career at 27 or 28 years of age? These are the questions that need to be answered, and Bill Guerin will be pressed on the topic soon.

Kaprizov likely to win Calder Trophy

The NHL named Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov, Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson and Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic as finalists for the Calder Memorial Trophy. All indications are that Kaprizov will take home the honors.

Kaprizov, 24, led rookies in goals (27), points (51) and power-play goals (eight). His totals in goals, assists (24) and points served as records by a rookie in franchise history.

“Obviously, [winning] would make it a little bit easier, having such a tough season and leaving in the first round of the playoffs, obviously it would make things a little bit better,” Kaprizov said. “But honestly I’m the type of person that doesn’t really look for personal accolades. I’d much rather have the team win and have the team do better than my own personal gains.”

NHL.com