Kirill Kaprizov set rookie season records for the Minnesota Wild this year.
That production also led him to being named the league’s top newcomer.
In a decision that comes as no surprise, the 24-year-old Russian native was the Calder Memorial Trophy recipient during the NHL Award Show on Tuesday night.
He was asked what winning the award would mean to him during a end of the season media session after the Wild were eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in the opening round of the playoffs.
“Obviously it would make things a little bit easier having such a tough season in leaving in the first round of the playoffs,” Kaprizov said through interpreter. Ilya Kravtchouk. “Obviously it would make things a little more better. But, overall, honestly I’m not a person who looks for personal accolades. I’d much rather have the team win and the team do better than my own personal gains.”
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He offered a few additional thoughts when award presenter and former Calder winner, Patrick Kane asked him if there was anyone he would like to thank.
“A big thank you to the team. Without them, none of this would be possible,” Kaprizov said through Kravtchouk. “From all of my teammates to all of the coaching staff, to the organization to the administrative team, everybody has helped me tremendously, both on and off the ice. I’d also like to thank my family. They’ve always helped me out in tough moments. They’ve supported me.”
Kaprizov, who is the first Wild player to receive the trophy, was one of three finalists for the honor along with Dallas forward Jason Robertson and Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic. Wild teammate, goalie Kaapo Kahkonen, received a fourth-place and a fifth-place vote for the Calder.
He finished the year as the top rookie in both goals (27) , points (54) and shots on goal (157).. He was a near unanimous recipient of the Calder.
Now the question is what he does next year. Kaprizov addressed that during the end of the season media session as well.
“Any time you are going into (the offseason) there’s always things to work on,” Kaprizov said through a translator. “Offensively,, be better skating and just thinking through different plays and scenarios. Overall, just trying to get better on every aspect of my game, get with my coaches and figure out where we really need to tighten things up..”
Of course there is that contract issue to solve first.
“I’m not one to predict the future and predict what’s next but this summer we’re going to get the chance to sit down and dig through all the options in what’s best for the team and for me,” Kaprizov said during the media session. “I’m confident that we’ll come to a good agreement.”