As the off-season approaches, the Minnesota Wild hope to sign promising prospect Kirill Kaprizov to his first-ever NHL deal. Speculation around his first deal is rampant. With Kaprizov being one of Minnesota’s top prospects, every fan is eagerly awaiting his signing.
The Chronicles of Kirill Kaprizov
Kirill Kaprizov in Russia
For the Minnesota Wild organization, Kaprizov is the number one target. Not only does he have tremendous upside, but he has proven his ability the past three seasons in the KHL. Kaprizov played a total of 160 games in the past three seasons for CSKA Moscow.
The amount of games played is a solid feat, but what Kaprizov did in these games is more impressive. Firstly, Kaprizov scored 78 goals in his past three seasons. On top of that, he tallied 75 assists for a miraculous 153 points in his last three seasons in the KHL.
The unbelievable numbers he put up places him at .956 points per game. At 23-years-old, there is good reason to be excited if you’re a fan in the State of Hockey.
Kaprizov’s Play Style
Kaprizov is oftentimes considered as a “Jack of all Trades,” so to speak. He was ranked as the Wild’s #2 overall prospect, behind only Matthew Boldy prior to the opening night of the 2019-20 NHL season. Kaprizov brings a lot to the table. He has speed, strength, soft hands, and a powerful shot.
Kaprizov shows a lot of similarities to current players in the NHL. One comparison that is common, is to St. Louis Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko has been a valuable part of the St. Louis Blues organization for a long time. He provides the Blues with much-needed speed and play-making ability, while also being able to score goals in clutch moments.
While many see Kaprizov as a play-maker with scoring ability, some are opting to compare him to Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals. Personally, this seems like a stretch; however, Kaprizov does possess the natural ability to put the puck in the back of the net. As amazing as it would be for Kaprizov to score goals at the rate Ovechkin does, the NHL has a different style of play than the KHL Kaprizov is used to so this may be an exaggerated expectation.
LWOS Scouting Report
Ben Kerr described Kaprizov as “extremely creative. He has very quick and has very soft hands. He can stick handle in a phone booth and has a wide variety of moves. When this is combined with his quick skating, he is very tough to handle one-on-one. Kaprizov has the ability to make these moves and handle the puck while moving at top speed. He also has excellent vision and passing skills. He makes tape-to-tape passes, hitting teammates through tight spaces. As good as his playmaking skills are, Kaprizov is a goal scorer. He has a strong wrist shot and excellent release. He also has an outstanding one-timer. Kaprizov has a knack for finding soft spots in the defence and getting that shot off.”
Is it Finally Time?
Kaprizov was rumoured to be joining the Wild for the past two seasons. Unfortunately, it never came to fruition. Fortunately for Minnesota, this year could be different. Kaprizov is most likely not going to renew his contract with CSKA, so he can make a move to the NHL. Assuming this does happen, where does he fit on the current Minnesota Wild team? It’s hard to give an exact prediction. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still plenty of unknowns in this roster, which is open for young talent to win starting jobs.
One possibility is that Kaprizov will be placed on a line with Kevin Fiala, who is developing as one of the NHL’s newest stars. This would allow the Wild to have a line devoted purely to offensive production. However, general manager Bill Guerin has a “do or die” mentality towards the team, threatening trades if the work rate fell during the 2019-20 regular season. This could mean Kaprizov, a goal scorer, will be paired with Zach Parise, a play-maker, to produce points while Fiala stays as an offensive threat on a different line.
Will Kaprizov Sign?
Before speculation gets too out of hand, Minnesota needs to first sign the 23-year-old. There are plenty of complications, as there were reports Kaprizov did not yet have an agent. New reports show that the president of CSKA Moscow believes Kaprizov will depart for the upcoming NHL season. If this report is true, Kaprizov should be available to be signed by the Minnesota Wild in the near future.
— Gillian Kemmerer (@gilliankemmerer) June 4, 2020
Minnesota Wild fans, hold on tight. This might be the season where Kirill Kaprizov arrives.