Minnesota Wild Sign Top KHL Prospect Marat Khusnutdinov to Help Immediately

Photo: SKA Ice Hockey Club - @hcSKA_News (X)

The Minnesota Wild have reached an agreement with 21-year-old Russian forward prospect Marat Khusnutdinov, who then general manager Bill Guerin selected in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft.

Rumors started circling weeks ago that Khusnutdinov could join the Wild when his KHL season ended, but there were questions about whether or not he would be allowed an early release from his contract, which wasn’t scheduled to expire until April 30.

Khusnutdinov entry-level deal with the Wild is two years, $925,000 per season and, according to Michael Russo of The Athletic, his representatives received finalized paperwork from his team confirming mutual termination of his KHL contract on Wednesday morning.

When to expect Marat Khusnutdinov to play for Minnesota Wild

As long as they can get his VISA situation figured out they will burn the first year of that two-year deal and have him report to Minnesota immediately upon his arrival in the USA. They’ve already set aside the number 22 sweater for him.

The Wild will burn the first year of his contract and have him report to Minnesota once his U.S. work visa and immigration papers are complete.

Wild GM Bill Guerin told The Athletic that he expects Khusnutdinov to play and “help us,” but they’ll do “the right thing for the team.” The inference is Guerin understands the Wild are battling for a playoff spot and coach John Hynes will go with the players he most trusts.

Michael Russo – The Athletic

There you go. Barring any setbacks, the plan is to see if Marat can hang in the NHL as a barely-legal kid who’s being dropped into a new country. Russo reported earlier in the week that Khusnutdinov and Kirill Kaprizov have been texting and talking regularly, in recent weeks.

Khusnutdinov in the KHL

During the 2023-24 season, Khusnutdinov played 49 games with HK Sochi in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), tallying 20 points (6 goals, 14 assists) and earning 10 penalty minutes. He ranked fifth on the team in assists and seventh in points, while also serving as the team captain. Khusnutdinov started the season with SKA St. Petersburg, playing six games before being traded to HK Sochi on Oct. 10.

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Khusnutdinov had a strong season with SKA St. Petersburg in the 2022-23 KHL, scoring 41 points (11 goals, 30 assists) in 63 games. He ranked second in assists and sixth in goals on the team, tying for seventh in overall points. He made history as the youngest player in SKA St. Petersburg’s history to reach 50 career points.

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