Fans and, probably the Minnesota Wild, are running out of patience… At the beginning of September, Wild insider Michael Russo for The Athletic got us excited when he claimed that the team and restricted free agent Kirill Kaprizov were very close to an agreement on a hefty contract.
Russo believed the Wild “compromised on term, pretty much at 5-years.” He also reported that he thinks “money is pretty close in $9M AAV range.
But then, nothing. We know the phenom rookie does not have leverage to scare the Wild anymore. As you may remember, the Wild was scared of losing Kaprizov earlier this month when it was reported that the top rookie had a contract in place in the Kontinental Hockey League. But that leverage isn’t there anymore with the 2021-22 KHL season kicking off on Sept. 1. Kaprizov's camp was more inclined to take a short-term deal to walk to unrestricted free agency. He might therefore be forced to make compromises.
“I will say this, we are at a point where we feel we’re being extremely fair,” GM Bill Guerin told Russo. “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 (agent) Paul (Theofanous) or Kirill and they might say something very different.”
However, while a deal for this season is no way out of the cards, Russo stated that “even if Kirill Kaprizov signs at this point, he won’t, at a minimum, be in camp on time due to work visa obligations/7-day quarantine.”
This means the star forward will miss precious time in training camp to get back to his teammates, clear the air about the heavy contract negotiations and focus on the season…
Fans aren’t happy to hear this is taking so long.
The Calder winner led rookies in goals (27), points (51), power-play goals (eight) and shots on goal (157) in 55 games. He was second in even-strength points (38) and power-play points (13) and was tied for third in plus/minus rating (plus-10). On top of that, he led Wild in goals, points, points per game (0.93) and overtime goals (two), and scored three game-winning goals. Kaprizov, who averaged 18:18 of ice time per game and had a shooting percentage of 17.2 percent, scored the most goals, assists and points by a rookie in Wild history.
Fans want to see him back and probably hope that he now decides to compromise in order to get a deal in place fast.
Because every day now counts against the Wild and Kaprizov’s preparations for the 2021-22 season.