Concerns continue to rise about the availability of Russian players to NHL teams next season. One player who’s come into focus today due to a variety of conflicting reports is Kirill Kaprizov, who Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin confirmed today is still in Russia despite rumors stating he had returned to the United States. In response to reports this morning that Kaprizov is currently wanted in Russia for buying a false military ID card five years ago, Guerin said the following:
We’re not going to push the panic button or anything like that. We’re just trying to gather information right now and find out if this is even credible.
Kaprizov is one of the multiple players whose situations are in limbo, exacerbated by the fact their KHL rights are held by CSKA Moscow, a Russian army-owned team. Russo notes that in the past, CSKA players have been exempt from military service, but this is an informal and non-codified rule. In addition, Kaprizov’s exemption from mandatory military service via a studentship in a Russian organization expired at the end of June. Very little is confirmed about the situation, but it’s a significant development that bears watching over the course of the offseason as it pertains to Kaprizov’s availability to the Wild next season.
- The Edmonton Oilers will get some clarity soon on the playing future of defenseman Duncan Keith, who could potentially decide to retire with one season remaining on his contract carrying a $5.54MM cap hit. General manager Ken Holland noted that he’d spoken to Keith twice in the past few weeks and that he’s requested an answer by this Saturday. That gives the Oilers a brief window of time ahead of free agency to work out replacement plans for Keith if he retires. The 38-year-old defenseman would not inflict a cap penalty on the Oilers if he opts to call it a career.
- Winnipeg Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff gave injury updates today on a pair of important Jets prospects. Cole Perfetti, who suffered an upper-body injury in mid-February, has just started skating again and is not cleared to participate in the 2022 World Junior Championship for Team Canada. Additionally, 2021 first-rounder Chaz Lucius, who underwent ankle surgery after suffering a late-season injury with the University of Minnesota, won’t participate for the United States.