The Wild have finally signed KHL star Kirill Kaprizov.
The wait for Kirill Kaprizov is finally over, as the Minnesota Wild inked him to a two-year entry-level deal on Monday. The Russian star has excelled in the KHL in the past two seasons, leading the league in goals and becoming the youngest player to reach 100 goals in the league. He also won gold for Russia in the 2018 Olympics, recording nine points in six games.
At 23, Kaprizov will be expected to be an immediate difference-maker next season. His success in Russia has been incredible, but he still has everything to prove in the NHL.
The Wild initially selected the winger in the fifth round of the 2015 Draft, knowing he would return to Russia. When he started to find success, the Wild were unable to lock him down, and suspicions loomed that he did not want to play for the franchise.
This signing comes at the perfect time for the Wild. They’ve been peddling in mediocrity for what feels like forever. As the Ryan Suter and Zach Parise contracts finally start to diminish, Kaprizov could be the player who brings the Wild into a new era.
How will Kaprizov fit in Minnesota?
Kaprizov won’t be eligible to play when hockey resumes later this summer but will be able to practice with the team in order to prepare for next season. General manager Bill Guerin announced that he will wear no. 97, the highest ever number to be used by a Wild player.
He’ll look to find chemistry with Kevin Fiala, who impressed for the Wild this season. In 64 games, the 23-year-old winger totaled 54 points and became the Wild’s leading scorer. Luke Kunin was another youngster who showed signs of promise this season, with 31 points in 63 games. A future top line of Kaprizov-Kunin-Fiala could be dangerous for the Wild.
The Wild will compete for a playoff spot against Vancouver Canucks when hockey returns in August.