While no one wants to see dynamic and entertaining talent Kirill Kaprizov leave the NHL after just one year, especially after waiting so long for his arrival, the ongoing negotiations between he, the Minnesota Wild, and allegedly the KHL’s CSKA Moscow has been an intriguing storyline to say the least. However, the recent report that CKSA has an eight-figure offer out to Kaprizov is almost certainly a farce. As first pointed out by Bally Sports’ Andy Strickland, the KHL salary cap is equivalent to about $12MM, making an eight-figure offer one that eats up at least 83% of the team’s payroll on just one player. Even if they did want to make that kind of unrealistic commitment to Kaprizov, the perennial contenders are already flush with talent, including recent NHLers Joakim Nordstrom, Lucas Wallmark, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Nesterov, and several others. There is no possible way that CSKA can afford Kaprizov for anything more than Minnesota’s best offer, leading Strickland to call this “one of the worst bluffs in sports history.” So, rest easy Wild fans. Minnesota maintains all of the leverage in this negotiation and isn’t about to lose Kaprizov and certainly not to an imaginary KHL offer.
- Following a strong performance at the recent Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, Sports Illustrated’s Steven Ellis reports that talented young Slovakian goalkeeper Rastislav Elias has decided to make the move to North America and will play in the USHL this season. Unlike the past few draft classes, which have featured elite goaltending prospects that were long considered first-round picks, the title for top goalie prospect in the 2022 NHL Draft is still up for grabs. Elias hopes that by joining the Green Bay Gamblers and testing himself in a new league, having only played in Slovakian juniors to this point, will earn him some consideration for that label. The spotlight will be on Elias in 2021-22, who is already considered one of the top prospects in net alongside Canadian Tyler Brennan and Russian Sergei Ivanov in particular. Not only will NHL teams be eying Elias, but NCAA programs will also be heavily scouting the talented prospect, who is still eligible to go the college route if he so chooses.
- Robert Morris University made waves this spring – and not the good kind – when they shockingly terminated their men’s and women’s hockey programs. The decision spurned numerous outside efforts to raise money to bring the programs back before the coming season, but there had been no update as to whether those attempts had been successful. That official word came down today, as the Pittsburgh-area university announced that they will not be icing hockey teams in 2021-22. Robert Morris reports that they have raised $1.34MM in contributions and pledges, but would require $1.4MM in immediate contributions and another $1.4MM in future pledges in order to reinstate the programs. The school notes that it is “eyeing [a] comeback in 2022-23” if fundraising continues, but by then the players from both teams likely will have transferred and the program will be starting from scratch. It is a disappointing result and seeming lack of dedication and effort on the part of Robert Morris, especially as schools around the country are adding Division I hockey programs, not subtracting them.