Kirill Kaprizov is back in the State of Hockey. On Tuesday, Kaprizov signed a five-year, $45 million contract, with an annual average value of $9 million per season. He was the leading scorer for Minnesota this season, scoring 27 goals, while adding 24 assists. He tallied 11 more points than Kevin Fiala, who put up the second most points on the team. The forward led all NHL rookies with his 27 goals, while totalling 51 points. This also included eight power play goals and 157 shots on goal across 55 contests.
Why did it take Minnesota so long to sign Kaprizov? Ever since the end of last season, Wild fans had no idea whether or not he was going to stay with the organization, or go back to his home country and play for CSKA Moscow. The Wild wanted to sign Kaprizov to an eight-year deal with an AAV of $8.75 million, while Kirill was looking to sign a short-term contract that would make him an unrestricted free agent in 2023 or 2024. After months of deliberation, and for a while, weeks of silence, both parties were able to agree to a modest five-year deal.
The biggest thing I am taking away from all this is how cool, calm and collected Minnesota GM Bill Guerin was throughout the whole process. Whenever asked about the status of negotiations, he always said, “These things take time,” and even when it seemed as if talks between the two had gone stale, Guerin simply stated, “There are going to be some obstacles.”
Kaprizov is not the only player that has gone unsigned before the start of training camp. Elias Pettersson, Quinn Hughes, Rasmus Dahlin and Brady Tkachuk all remain unsigned by their respective teams.
“We’re fine. We’re fine. We’re not gonna go crazy over this, or panic or do anything like that, Guerin has continuously pleaded. “As I’ve said many times in my head, this is completely normal. I know there’s probably some frustration in the fanbase, but there really doesn’t need to be in my mind. We’ll try to get this done and hope to see him [Kaprizov] in Minnesota soon.”
Had Guerin not had a clear mindset while things were up in the air, it is very possible that Kaprizov could have ended up in Russia, never to sport a Wild uniform again. It will be exciting to see what he has in store for the future, and with the right draft picks and additions in the near future, the hope for a Stanley Cup in the State of Hockey is just over the horizon.