After a dominant rookie campaign that saw Kirill Kaprizov make his name as perhaps the most dynamic player to ever don a Wild sweater, the player and club have come to a more difficult phase of their partnership — keeping the 24-year-old in Minnesota.
Kaprizov burst onto the scene in his debut NHL season in 2020-21, scoring at nearly a point-per-game clip (27 goals and 51 points through 55 games) — enough to earn him the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, and to shatter the franchise's records for most points and goals by a rookie.
Now, he and the Wild remained locked in a tense contract negotiation, with Kaprizov a 10.2(c) restricted free agent, meaning he's in need of a new deal to return next season, and safe from being snagged by another NHL club via an offer sheet.
But it seems the Wild have a bigger issue to worry about, as Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reported Monday that KHL club CSKA Moscow — with whom Kaprizov played for three seasons before his recent NHL debut — has offered the young winger a one-year deal worth at least $10 million to return to Russia.
Update: Hearing Kirill Kaprizov has a tentative agreement in place with CSKA Moscow on a one-year, 8-figure deal ($USD) to begin on Sept. 1 - should a new contract not materialize with #mnwild.
However, the Wild appear ready and willing to talk a medium-term length deal. [1/2]
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) August 9, 2021
The Wild currently have roughly $19.7 million in cap space with Kaprizov and fellow star forward Kevin Fiala the only key names left to re-sign.
According to The Athletic's Michael Russo, the Wild have had offers on the table for Kaprizov in the range of seven or eight years at $9 million per year — either of which would amount to the richest contract in franchise history. Per Russo, Wild general manager Bill Guerin would be willing to cut that term to five or six years, but not anything fewer than three years, as Kaprizov could become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
Seravalli notes that the initial hang-up with negotiations was the Wild's original inclination to stick to a seven- or eight-year deal. However, both he and Russo report that deals of a number of different terms are now on the table. The remaining issue appears to be Kaprizov's camp pushing for more money at a shorter term, per Russo.
The Wild originally drafted Kaprizov in the fifth round back in 2015. The young winger has already claimed a KHL championship and a pair of goal-scoring titles in the Russian league, along with his first NHL trophy. Internationally, he already has an Olympic gold medal to his name (where he led the tournament in goals), a silver and bronze from the world juniors (leading the tourney in points and goals in the latter of those two efforts) and a world championship bronze.