A few weeks ago, it seemed like things were progressing well in the contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov. A general structure of a five-year, $45MM contract had been tabled, and it appeared as though the high-scoring winger would be signed well before camp opens later this month. Now, without a deal announced, Wild fans are beginning to get nervous. Speaking with The Athletic’s Michael Russo, Minnesota GM Bill Guerin explained that the two sides still aren’t very far apart but that things haven’t progressed recently:
I will say this, we are at a point where we feel we’re being extremely fair. How far apart are we? Not very, but sometimes those can be the things that take a while. I mean, that’s the way I see it. You could ask Paul [Theofanous] or Kirill and they might say something very different.
Guerin continues to caution fans that this is normal with high-profile RFAs, as you can see from the ongoing negotiations around the league. Elias Pettersson, Brady Tkachuk, Rasmus Dahlin, and Quinn Hughes are all still unsigned, along with several other mid-tier free agents as well. Kaprizov’s situation is not necessarily unique from that perspective, though his work visa and travel status make it so that he’ll have to face a longer wait to join camp whenever he does officially sign.
The Wild will start their preseason schedule in 11 days, taking on the St. Louis Blues on Sept 25. Whether Kaprizov will even be in camp by then is unclear, given the stalemate that Russo suggests.
A $9MM average annual value, the terms reported previously, would tie Kaprizov with Jeff Skinner of the Buffalo Sabres for the 18th highest-paid forward in the league next season. That’s a massive commitment for a player that has just 55 regular season NHL games under his belt, but Kaprizov is also a relatively unique case because of his success in the KHL and internationally.
Artemi Panarin, for instance, who is oft used as the closest comparable to Kaprizov because of their similar path to the NHL, signed a two-year contract extension just 117 games into his own career. That deal carried just a $6MM average annual value, but also took Panarin right to unrestricted free agency where he then signed a seven-year, $81.5MM deal that made him one of the highest-paid players in the league. At the time of his extension with the Chicago Blackhawks, Panarin had 45 goals and 114 points in 117 regular season games, a 0.97 points-per-game rate. Kaprizov sat at 0.93 through his first NHL season and, like Panarin, took home the Calder Trophy as the league’s best rookie.
Whether Guerin cautions against it or not, Minnesota fans are certainly biting their nails waiting for the eventual decision to come down as the hopes for this season certainly rest on Kaprizov’s shoulders. The 24-year-old forward is arguably the most exciting player the franchise has ever known and is a key to their entire offensive structure.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images
Kaprizov’s bedtime reading – “How to be the best cap cannibal in The State of Hockey.” His contract, like others in MIN, almost “need” to dip during the 2022-2023 through 2024-2025 seasons, when those buyout penalties will be extremely onerous. Sure, that’s going to happen…
I’d rather have kap at 8-9 then Marner at 11. Kap was the driving force behind making the wild a legit contender
Wait, what? The Wild are a legit contender? This the same team that struggles to make playoffs? They are somehow a legit contender for the cup? Name 2 teams considered top 8 teams they could definitely beat. Yeah, theyre not a legit contender, more like a team that can make a push for the playoffs and might surprise by winning a series but morn likely naught
Toronto fans and their hate on one of the top scoring forwards in league…always boggles the mind…just like how bad Barrie is…oh wait.
Neve blame the player. They have a finite shelf life and a single injury can mark the end of a career
When’s the last time you heard of a pro sports owner going bankrupt or ending up living in their car?
I think Peter Pocklington went to jail so that’s close
$9mil per for a player that has only 1 season under his belt & still hasn’t scored 80+pts yet.
This kid will sign and then will flop in two years then make his way back to his mother land…give him a three year deal worth 18 million and tell him to put up 85+ pts every year…what a joke kid is owed nothing until he puts up numbers in multiple years..
He has all the leverage he needs. He is owed what they are willing to pay.
Sure he will flop in 2 years. You can tell by his steady increase in production each year in the khl then dominating in the NHL his rookie season. Lol. Stay ignorantly salty. He is owed a massive pay raise if the Wild want to keep the superstar they drafter. Puts up damn near a ppg in his rookie season after his KHL career and some rando internet jealous ass says hes owed nothing lol. Gtf over yourself
Thanks for ur comments..really touching…my point is that one season putting up numbers like that don’t u think that the next 2 years the NHL teams will get use of his style of play ..u watch Mr. know it all he will be a average player this year and after…
And don’t you think Kaprizov will get used to the style of play in the NHL? You gotta remember, this kids game was created on playing on a larger sheet of ice. Last year was the first time he played regularly on an NHL rink and appears to have gone pretty damn good. He has basically shined everwhere he has played. If it’s true on the 5yr @ $9 mil deal being offered, that still puts Kaprizov at 29 to hit FA. And that would be where he is at his prime. It really sounds like the big roadblock is that Kaprizov wants a large signing bonus for up front money. Can’t blame him for wanting something like that…but on the flip side, I can see Guerin’s side of not wanting to give out a large lump sum up front to someone that has only played 55 games. Guerin is ok with a contract that will pay if the player is earning (which Kirill will) and not play up front for potential.
Thanks for the update…