Wild sign center Joel Eriksson Ek to an eight-year deal; can they get Kirill Kaprizov done next?

Wild sign Joel Eriksson Ek
May 7, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov (97) celebrates with center Joel Eriksson Ek (14) after scoring the game winning goal in overtime against the Anaheim Ducks at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

One down and another big one to go. Center Joel Eriksson Ek signed an eight-year, $42 million contract Friday to remain with the Minnesota Wild. Now they need to get this season’s Calder Trophy winner, Kirill Kaprizov done next.

The 24-year-old from Sweden is coming off his best NHL season, with career highs in goals (19), points (30) and average time on ice (17:03). He also led Minnesota in 2020-21 with 395 faceoffs won.

Wild sign Joel Eriksson Ek

Minnesota Wild General Manager Bill Guerin today announced the National Hockey League club has signed forward Joel Eriksson Ek to an eight-year, $42 million contract ($5.25 million average annual value) that goes through the 2028-29 season.

Minnesota Wild

The Wild reached the Stanley Cup playoffs, where Eriksson Ek scored an overtime winner in Game 1 of their first-round series with the Vegas Golden Knights before Vegas prevailed in seven games. Eriksson Ek tied for the team lead in playoff scoring with three points (two goals).

Joel Eriksson Ek
May 22, 2021; Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA; Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore (27) and Minnesota Wild center Joel Eriksson Ek (14) battle in front of the net of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) in game four of the first round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

It marked the eighth time in nine years that Minnesota made the postseason in some form, including the qualifying round of the 2019-20 playoff bubble. The Wild secured one of their top young forwards, who could play alongside 2021 Calder Trophy winner Kirill Kaprizov in the coming years.

A first-round draft selection in 2015 (20th overall), Eriksson Ek has amassed 96 points (43 goals, 53 assists) in 266 career games over five years with the Wild.

Minnesota Wild trying to get Kirill Kaprizov to sign long term

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.

“I’ve enjoyed everything about the game, I enjoyed the atmosphere in the locker room. I enjoyed playing on the ice with my teammates,” Kaprizov told Patrick Kane who presented him with the award. “Big thank you to the team. Without them, none of this would be possible.”

There was a rumor about the prospect of Kirill Kaprizov using the only leverage he had and signing with a KHL team. While the two sides have not made any headway towards a new deal, GM Bill Guerin wants Wild fans to know he isn’t overly concerned.

“I don’t know how to take it. I mean, there hasn’t been a threat,” Guerin relayed to Michael Russo. “So I think it’s more built up in the media.” The two sides continue to work on a deal with the Wild looking long term but Kaprizov only interested in a bridge deal. As far as the the threat to sign in the KHL Guerin was pretty direct, “They haven’t said anything about the KHL, so I have nothing really to get worried about.”

–Field Level Media contributed to this article