The status of Minnesota Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov has been murky this offseason, but there is finally some clarity on the matter. Kaprizov has arrived in Minnesota, per a report from Sarah McLellan of the Star Tribune.
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, Kaprizov’s exact whereabouts and availability for the start of the 2022-23 season have been up in the air, but the superstar forward is now back on American soil with training camp just weeks away.
Back in July, Kaprizov’s name was linked to a Russian investigation into alleged military service evasion. At the 2022 NHL Draft, Wild general manager Bill Guerin said that Kaprizov was still in Russia and doing well.
“He’s in Russia, and he’s doing fine,” Guerin said, via CBS Minnesota. “He’s with his friends and with his family.”
With Kaprizov in Minnesota and preparing for his third NHL season, the Wild can breathe a sigh of relief. A fifth-round draft pick by Minnesota in 2015, Kaprizov made his NHL debut in the 2020-21 season and immediately became the franchise’s best player.
As a 23-year old rookie, Kaprizov put up 27 goals and 51 points in just 55 games. Kaprizov built upon that and posted monster numbers last year. In 2021-22, he ranked fifth in the NHL in both goals (47) and points (108).
Going into next season, Kaprizov will be asked to shoulder an even bigger load in Minnesota. The Wild have been hit with more than $12 million in dead money against the salary cap due to buyout penalties, and the franchise was forced to trade away young winger Kevin Fiala after he scored 33 goals last year. The Wild, led by Kaprizov, must find a way to pick up some of that slack in order to remain a contender in the Western Conference.