Minnesota had to wait five years after drafting Kaprizov to see him play in the NHL, but all can agree it was worth the wait. This year’s Calder Trophy winner, Kaprizov was almost a point-for-game talent. Playing over 18 minutes a night, the 23-year-old Russian led the Wild with 27 goals and 51 points, missing only one game all year. Athletic’s Michael Russo reports due to arrive in Minnesota tomorrow and hold an in-person press conference while awaiting immunization status.
A full training camp and another year of acclimatization in North America bodes well for Kaprizov’s performance in 2021-2022. A dominant scorer and a deadly power-play presence, Kaprizov aims not only to lead the Wild, but also to be one of the best talents in the Western Conference. Kaprizov also put in a remarkable two-way performance for a rookie last season, posting a 51.2% Corsi for even strength and also boasting impressive advanced analytics. Steps forward in all respects will solidify his status as an elite talent and quickly make this deal worth its price.
The move comes after months of negotiations and nervousness from Wild fans. However, the term and dollar amount does not necessarily come as a surprise to anyone following the situation closely. A cap of $ 9 million was flagged as a likely value by The Athletic’s Michael Russo weeks before.
Despite all the fanfare made about Minnesota’s salary cap situation this offseason following the buyouts of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, the Wild still remain fit for 2021-22. Kaprizov was the only restricted free agent remaining on the roster, and they still have $ 3.2 million left in space considering a 22-man roster. The real tightening comes next season, where the cap penalty due to buyouts increases by $ 8 million.
Either way, it’s an immediate relief for fans of the Wild, who will have another five years (in all likelihood) of a player who has captured the eyes and hearts of many this season. Seen as a cornerstone of the franchise for the future, the Wild are now looking to push even further discord.
All salary cap figures are courtesy of CapFriendly.com.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Images.