Ask any Minnesota Wild fan which of the team’s prospects are most likely to make it to the NHL and you’ll likely endure a debate on the likes of Jordan Greenway, Joel Eriksson Ek and Mike Reilly. Ask them which of the team’s prospects their most EXCITED about however, and you’ll receive only one answer: Kirill Kaprizov.
The 20 year-old Russian sniper electrified fans at this past winter’s World Junior Championships with 12 points and nine goals in just seven games, earning himself tournament MVP honors. He then proceeded to tear up the KHL with 20 goals and 42 points in 49 games. The 5’9”, 185 lb winger has natural goal-scoring and playmaking abilities and was expected to join the Wild for the 2017-18 season with Wild GM Chuck Fletcher stating so much just two months ago.
Now however, his team owner in the KHL, CSKA president Igor Esmantovich, has proclaimed that Kaprizov will remain in Russia for at least the next three years.
It’s a stunning development and a big blow to the Wild for 2017-18. While the news has yet to be confirmed by Kaprizov or his agent, you know the old saying, “where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.” Kaprizov would only be 23 years-old when his new agreement expires, so there’s still plenty of time left for him to carve up a career in the NHL, but this news has to come as a disappointment for Wild fans who were eager to see Kaprizov sooner rather than later.