Minnesota sports writer puts Wild fans' minds at ease regarding Kirill Kaprizov

One particular Minnesota columnist doesn't think the NHL's Calder Trophy winner is going anywhere.


In case you've not heard, fans of the Minnesota Wild have been collectively holding their breath regarding the future of NHL Rookie of the Year Kirill Kaprizov, who reportedly has a tentative offer of least $10 million with a Kontinental Hockey League team in Russia if he can't reach a new deal with the Wild by Sept. 1 after having played just one season in North America. 

But not to worry, Wild fans. At least, that's the point of view of one particular area sports writer. 

While appearing on the Daily Delivery podcast, Minneapolis Star-Tribune columnist Chip Scoggins helped to alleviate the concerns of Wild fans by stating that he believes that there's no way that Kaprizov would leave the top competition of the National Hockey League in order to play, as he put it, "junior varsity" hockey. 

"This is what you have to go through," he said. "We're talking about the most talented and entertaining player in their history, and they know it. And his agent knows it. I don't think it would be realistic to think this would be smooth sailing. Do I think he'll play in Russia? No, I think it's at total bluff.

At the core, professional athletes are competitors, and competitors want to test themselves against the best competition. The National Hockey League is the best hockey league in the world. And we saw from last year that Kaprizov is a hard-nosed competitor, and loves facing the best players. So you're telling me he'll go play junior varsity now?" 

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.

Per CapFriendly, the Wild currently have approximately $19.7 million in cap space. And according to a recent article from The Athletic, Wild GM Bill Guerin could be willing to go as high as $9 million annually on a new contract for Kaprizov.