Kirill Kaprizov did something special in the 2020-21 NHL season. The Russian superstar forward exploded for 27 goals and 51 points in 55 games in his first NHL season with the Minnesota Wild. He was a finalist for the Calder Trophy alongside Dallas’ Jason Robertson and Carolina’s Alex Nedeljkovic.
Kaprizov’s debut season in Minnesota was transformative. The Wild became relevant again, making the playoffs for the first time since the 2014-15 season. Kaprizov scored several highlight-reel goals and led the Wild in scoring by more than 10 points. He became appointment viewing for hockey fans all over the globe.
While year one for Kaprizov in Minnesota was incredible, there’s been some rumblings that the Russian forward could return to the KHL. The 24-year-old was one of the all-time greats for CSKA Moscow and is drawing interest from his former club overseas. Kaprizov spent a whopping six years in the KHL before finally coming over to North America.
We discuss the latest Kirill Kaprizov rumors and provide answers to the biggest questions.
Is Kirill Kaprizov signed?
Kaprizov is currently a RFA and is unsigned for the 2021-22 NHL season. He carried a $925,000 cap hit in 2020-21 as part of his two-year entry-level contract. The entry-level deal he signed in January 2020 expired at the end of the 2020-21 NHL season.
KIRILL THE THRILL BABY#KirillForCalder pic.twitter.com/YXeXkPFJhl
— Minnesota Wild (@mnwild) May 8, 2021
Can Kaprizov be offer sheeted?
Kaprizov can’t be offer sheeted because he isn’t considered a full RFA. He hasn’t played enough years in the NHL to be considered a full RFA, so he falls under something called 10.2(c). This means Kaprizov can’t sign with another NHL team, can’t be tendered an offer sheet by another NHL team and can’t file for salary arbitration from a neutral adjudicator. He basically has zero bargaining rights.
What’s the latest update on Kaprizov contract talks?
Contract talks between the Wild and Kaprizov have “gone cold”, according to NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes (June 2021). The Athletic’s Michael Russo also reported that there’s a considerable disparity between what both sides hope to accomplish in a new contract.
Is Kaprizov in Russia?
Kaprizov was recently in Moscow for a friend’s wedding. He informed Minnesota Wild GM Bill Guerin of his travels. This led to rumours circulating that Kaprizov was going back to the KHL to play for CSKA Moscow. While that wasn’t the reason for Kaprizov’s trip, the Wild forward is drawing significant interest from his former KHL club. CSKA Moscow would love to re-sign their former two-time 30-goal scorer. It’s also worthing noting that some Russian NHL players threaten a return to the KHL as a contract negotiation tactic.
How much money and term does Kaprizov want?
According to Wild beat writer Michael Russo, Kaprizov is looking for a short-term deal (aka a two or three-year bridge deal). This is a problem for the Wild, who want to sign Kaprizov long-term to a seven or eight-year contract. Minnesota reportedly doesn’t want to sign Kaprizov to a contract for less than four years, while Kaprizov doesn’t want to sign longer than three years.
In terms of salary, the Wild are reportedly looking to pay Kaprizov $8.5 million or $9 million a year on a long-term deal. This would make him the highest paid player in Minnesota Wild franchise history. Kaprizov may be looking for north of $10 million a year on a short-term deal, which is why the two sides are at a stalemate. The Wild also need to re-sign top RFAs Kevin Fiala and Joel Eriksson Ek this summer.