What is Stopping Kirill Kaprizov From Joining the Minnesota Wild?

CSKA Moscow, Kirill Kaprizov #97 (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
CSKA Moscow, Kirill Kaprizov #97 (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images) /

By most all accounts, it seemed Kirill Kaprizov was ready to join the Minnesota Wild. What is stopping him from doing so?

Throughout the regular season, fans heard of reports from Bill Guerin that Kirill Kaprizov was looking forward to joining the NHL sooner rather than later. Various stories from Russian Media outlets corroborated this excitement with reports where Kaprizov was quoted saying much of the same and that he was even offered a rather lucrative contract to stay in the K, but he rejected to sign to join the NHL.

So what’s the holdup?

In short, the pandemic. However, the situation is a bit more complicated than that. If 2020 were a normal year, the Minnesota Wild would have been able to sign Kirill Kaprizov to his Entry-Level Contract as early as April 30th. There are debates to be had if the Minnesota Wild would still be in their season, but the novel Coronavirus has changed everything and made those debates irrelevant.

With the pause allowing many fans an ample amount of time to think, some began to wonder if Kirill Kaprizov would be able to join the Minnesota Wild if the league were to return to play. His KHL contract did officially expire April 30th, he’s yet to sign a new KHL deal, and Kaprizov was on the Minnesota Wild’s Reserve List before the Trade Deadline, so theoretically he would be able to sign his ELC and officially join the NHL.

News finally came detailing the NHL’s Plan to Return to Play, which still needs approval from the NHLPA, and later an agreement on an adjusted Collective Bargaining Agreement. That Agreement came with a wrinkle that impacts teams like the Minnesota Wild, the Montreal Canadiens, and the New York Islanders.

Prospects who had been placed on the Reserved List before the Trade Deadline, but had yet to sign their ELC were not allowed to participate in the postseason. That means Kirill Kaprizov for the Wild, Ilya Sorokin for the Islanders, and Alexander Romanov for the Canadiens are left in the lurch.

When it was announced, I voiced my opinion on the matter.

After that tirade, news did come down that could prove useful for the Minnesota Wild… maybe. The language of the adjusted CBA doesn’t allow for unsigned reserved list prospects to play in the 2020 Postseason, but they could sign them and burn the first year of their ELC.

More from Gone Puck Wild

For Kaprizov, that would mean the first of his two-year deal would be burned and after the 2021-2022 season, he would need a new contract, one where the Wild and General Manager Bill Guerin would need to decide how to pay for the Unrestricted Free Agent years of his career.

So is that the best way for the Minnesota Wild to act? It is difficult to determine. On one hand, you have Kaprizov in the organization ready to play. On the other, you bring a difficult discussion closer: how to pay the young sniper for a lot of his Unrestricted years when there isn’t a lot on his resume.

What alternative do the Minnesota Wild have?

They could sit and wait for their season to end and then sign Kaprizov to his ELC. That way, they get both years of inexpensive Kirill Kaprizov, rather than just the one. The issue with that is it allows Kaprizov the opportunity to resign with CSKA Moscow, who has stated that Kirill Kaprizov wouldn’t be allowed to transfer mid-season.

What if he were to sign with a different league?

Likely a similar issue. Why pay for a few months of a player just to have him leave mid-season?

So what’s the best course of action?

I truly don’t have an answer, but I’m more certain of this than anything: Kirill Kaprizov wants to play in the NHL. He would have already resigned with the KHL if he didn’t want to play with the best. I would lean towards the organization waiting until the Minnesota Wild are no longer competing in the current season before signing him, but I also see the benefits of signing him now, despite burning the first year of his contract.

Wild fans, we can be patient. I didn’t show that with the outburst when the news came down from the league, but we’ve waited five years for Kaprizov. What’re a couple more months?

Three Prospects the Minnesota Wild Need to be Excited For. light. Related Story