Born: April 26, 1997
2016-17 Team: Salavaet Yulaev (KHL)
How Acquired: 2015 Draft (fifth round, 135th overall)
No Wild prospect was more in the spotlight this past summer than Kirill Kaprizov.
The 20-year-old Russian winger was entering the final year of his contract in the KHL, and it was expected that he would come over to the United States in 2018 with the Wild welcoming him with open arms.
It did not exactly pan out like that.
After being traded from Salavaet Yulaev to CSKA Moscow, the KHL’s premier team, Kaprizov was pressured to sign a new extension to remain in Russia past the 2017-18 season. He was even benched from Team Russia at the World Championships in May because the pressure was being put on.
Eventually, Kaprizov signed a new three-year contract to remain in Russia. The Wild were never allowed to make contact with their fifth-round pick from the 2015 draft, and they still have yet to make contact with him to this day.
There is a lot of hype around Kaprizov, and for good reason. He has been scoring among the best in Russia’s top league since he was 18, and has shown elite playmaking skills on the big stages like the World Junior Championship.
In the past World Junior Championship, Kaprizov captained Team Russia and dominated the play. He tallied nine goals and three assists to lead the tournament in scoring. Russia ended up winning the Bronze medal in the tournament.
While he lacks size, Kaprizov more than makes up for with his playmaking ability. He has quick speed, great hands, and can score goals with the best of them. He has the high ceiling type of potential the Wild badly need in their lineup.
But for the time being, it appears, he will not be coming overseas.
There is no deal in place between the KHL and NHL in regards to Russian drafted players, for teams holding their rights. So essentially, the Wild hold the rights to Kaprizov forever unless they trade him.
There are also certain buyout clauses in players’ contracts in the KHL, but Kaprizov’s is unknown at this time.
Kaprizov has stated previously he hopes to play one day in the NHL. The Wild, and their fans, still hope this to be true, as Kaprizov represents the only player in their pipeline who has the high ceiling potential they sorely need.
But for now, the Wild will just have to wait out his contract and hope he can decide on his own to make the jump across the pond.
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