Wild Want Kaprizov Now, Regardless of Contract Ramifications

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For the Minnesota Wild, the fight to sign Russian superstar, Kirill Kaprizov, continues to pick up speed. After being eligible to sign back in May, when his contract with the KHL expired, the two parties have been stuck in limbo. Whether it was due to COVID-19 or the NHL declining to allow new signings for the year. It has been an uphill battle to get Kaprizov to the Twin Cities.

However, the NHL has recently decided that new players can sign for the remainder of the 2019-20 season. Pending the new CBA vote this week. They refuse, however, to let them on the ice for 2019-20 expanded playoffs, if their team is slated to play in the upcoming league restart.

Now What….?

This puts the Wild in a precarious situation. Kaprizov is only eligible to sign a two-year, entry-level contract. And if the Wild were to sign him prior to the 2020-21 season, they would burn through the first year before ever seeing him in American competition… Minnesota sport teams and the short end of the stick. Name a more iconic duo.

Yet, according to The Athletic’s Michael Russo, Bill Guerin (Wild GM) is tempted to pull the trigger on a Kirill Kaprizov “burn one, play one” 2-year contract.

After a lot of thought regarding the pros (assuring Kaprizov’s signed for the 2020-21 season) and cons (Kaprizov becoming a restricted free agent after the 2020-21 season as opposed to after the 2021-22 season) of this option vs. signing Kaprizov to a two-year deal starting in the 2020-21 season, general manager Bill Guerin has decided, sources say, that he is willing to sign Kaprizov for 2019-20 and burn the first year if Kaprizov wants to do so.

Michael Russo – The Athletic


As I previously discussed, the NHL and NHLPA are about to extend the current CBA through the 2025-26 season. If ratified, the Wild would be allowed to sign Kaprizov to the “burn one, play one” contract.

This is a risky move for Guerin and Co. If Kaprizov signs, it guarantees he will be with the team for at least a year and ensure fans do not miss another season or two without him. Yet the con is that he would become a restricted free agent after the 2020-21 season instead of 2021-22. High risk and high reward. If you are a gambler, that is something you should always take in this scenario.

The trouble facing the Wild, according to Russo, is on the Kaprizov side of this conversation. We are unsure if this is a move Kaprizov is willing to make. His agent has yet to answer that question. The Wild will make the “burn one, play one” contract offer once the CBA is likely ratified, on Friday. That will give them 53 hours to negotiate, starting Monday.

Another issue facing this move for the Wild, is whether Kaprizov would be allowed to train with the team, during the upcoming training camp. Guerin hopes to get him acclimated to his future teammates, but the NHL has not give them an answer.


If Kaprizov does sign, the Wild would like to “loan” him to a team in Europe, to continue developing. Kaprizov wants to play hockey. That’s part of this dilemma. The one place he cannot be sent, is Russia. If he signs another contract with his KHL team, CSKA Moscow, he will not be allowed to return to the USA, until the Russian season is finished (according to Russo). That would eat into the “play one” year of Kap’s contract.

You cannot fault CSKA for that stance, either. During Kaprizov’s time in the KHL, he has become a star. Leading the league in scoring the past two seasons and earning All-Star nominations year in and out.

Signing Kaprizov now and burning through the first year of his contract may be the smartest move for the Wild. Yes, it means guaranteeing only one year with the team. But with his hype, a lucrative second contract would likely be worth it. It would also guarantee the wait for him to finally play in a Wild sweater would be over. Instead of having to wait another year.

Bring Kirill Kaprizov over. Get him adjusted to the Twin Cities and the team and let’s get this puppy rolling to multiple deep playoff runs.

Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan

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