In his most recent mailbag series, The Athletic’s Micheal Russo (subscription required) writes even though prized prospect Kirill Kaprizov could finish his KHL season early, don’t expect him to be in a Minnesota Wild uniform before the season ends. The scribe writes that Kaprizov’s contract with CSKA Moscow doesn’t expire until Apr. 30, which means the soonest that Minnesota could sign the 22-year-old will be on May 1 to a two-year deal. While nothing is set in stone, it is believed that Kaprizov, who will be a free agent, will sign with the Wild this summer.
Minnesota also expects Kaprizov to play for Russia at the World Championships this summer (assuming it isn’t cancelled due to the coronavirus), before reporting the Minnesota this summer, according to Russo, who spoke to general manager Bill Guerin. It’s expected that he will attend development camp between June 28 to July 3 and would be expected to play in one of the rookie games in September.
Kaprizov is wrapping up his best season yet in the KHL as he has tallied 33 goals and 62 points in 57 games and should be one of the top rookies in the NHL next season.
- The Athletic’s Scott Powers (subscription required) writes that Chicago Blackhawks goaltending prospect Ivan Nalimov is expected to sign a professional tryout agreement with their AHL affiliate, the Rockford IceHogs in the next few days. After playing with Sochi this season in the KHL, Nalimov has become a free-agent and is allowed to negotiate with the Blackhawks. Nalimov’s play over the years has been inconsistent, so the idea of signing him to an AHL PTO is a low-risk maneuver and will allow the team a chance to evaluate him up close before deciding whether to sign him to a NHL contract. The 25-year-old finished his season with Sochi with a 7-14-1 record in 24 appearances with a 2.50 GAA and a .911 save percentage. The Blackhawks have a number of decisions to make in net throughout the organization with just Collin Delia and Matt Tompkins signed. The team will have to make decisions on Corey Crawford, Malcolm Subban, Kevin Lankinen and now Nalimov this summer.
- The San Jose Sharks will be without defenseman Mario Ferraro all weekend. The rookie defenseman has been trying to play through a lower-body injury for a week and a half, but finally requires a break as he will sit out Saturday’s game against Ottawa and against Colorado on Sunday, according to The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz. Head coach Bob Boughner hopes Ferraro will be available by Wednesday, the start of the team’s four-game road trip. Ferraro, the college defensive partner of Colorado’s Cale Makar, has two goals and 11 points in 61 games in his first season with the Sharks.
- David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes that the Vegas Golden Knights might get a depth addition as soon as next weekend (assuming they don’t get into the NCAA tournament) as Jack Dugan, who currently leads college hockey with 52 points, could sign with Vegas. Dugan, the Golden Knights’ fifth-round pick in 2017, has dominated in college and could add provide some depth, especially after the team learned that Cody Glass will miss the rest of the season.