The Minnesota Wild’s issues with bringing over Russian prospects are well-documented. Young star forward Kirill Kaprizov remains with the KHL’s CSKA Moscow despite the team’s best efforts for years to convince him to make the jump. Now make that two forwards without plans to cross the Atlantic and suit up for Minnesota any time soon. Kaprizov’s CSKA teammate Andrei Svetlakov has signed a three-year extension to remain in Moscow until 2022, the team announced. At 23 year’s old, Svetlakov may have signed a deal that ends his chances at ever playing for the Wild.
The Wild used a sixth-round pick in 2017 on Svetlakov as an overage prospect in his last go-round in the NHL Draft. The young center had been promoted to the KHL and had proven that he was a valuable asset at the top pro level, even if he hadn’t produced at a high level. Over the past two seasons, Svetlakov’s scoring has not changed much but he has grown as a two-way player and looked at the top of his game in the 2019 Gagarin Cup playoffs, recording eight points and a +10 rating in 18 games. Moscow clearly saw something they liked in the pivot’s game to sign him long-term, as the perennial contender is known for having a keen eye for talent.
Svetlakov is not nearly the prospect that Kaprizov is, but could develop into a useful player even by NHL standards. If he had been interested in playing for the Wild, it also may have helped to convince Kaprizov to do the same. Instead, Svetlakov is locked in for three more years with CSKA and will be 26 by the time his contract expires. Minnesota owns Svetlakov’s rights indefinitely, so he may still prove to be a valuable asset for the team, but will hardly be considered a “prospect” by the time he can make the jump. It’s another tough blow for the Wild and their international image and the team must continue to hold out hope that Kaprizov will not follow suit and stay in Russia for years still to come.