Welcome to the first installment of Minnesota Wild Analytics. This series will preview each player’s roles for the upcoming season and explain what analytics suggest for their 2021-22 season. Today we will cover the reigning NHL rookie of the year Kirill Kaprizov.
Previously at Gone Puck Wild, we discussed the 2021-22 season for the Minnesota Wild and how the team would rank in the NHL based on analytics. Now, we will discuss the role of Kirill Kaprizov, the reigning Calder Award winner as the best rookie in the NHL and what the analytics suggest for his sophomore season.
Putting all the contract negations behind us, I think I can speak for all by saying I’m very excited to watch a full 82 game season of Kaprizov. But how big of an impact will he have this year?
Minnesota Wild: Kaprizov’s role
Kaprizov, as expected, was the highest-played forward for Dean Evanson’s team, at 798.2 even strength (EV) time on ice (TOL). That gave him about 14 minutes, 50 seconds of ice time on average. Kaprizov also logged the most power-play minutes with 176.
In terms of the 2021-2022 season, I would suspect Evason will give Kaprizov the same amount of time if not more. Compiling even-strength and power-play time, Kaprizov averaged 18 1/2 minutes of ice time. The 24-year-old winger ranked 18th in the NHL for wingers with 1006.37 TOL and will most certainly rank somewhere upon there for the 2021-2022 season.
There’s not much to it. Kaprizov is a Top 6 forward for the Wild and will eventually get paid like one. Whatever the deal is for Kaprizov, he will play huge minutes going forward for this season and years beyond.
What do the analytics say?
Kaprizov had a dominant rookie campaign which was highlighted by being named the top rookie in the league, He ranked ninth in the NHL with an 18.95 ixG for wingers, a stat that tracks Individual Expected Goals Created. That is essentially a metric that measures the amount of expected goals generated by an individual player.
Not trying to knock Victor Rask, but this stat shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Kaprizov generated a lot of offense even with Rask and Mats Zuccarello as his linemates. This is why this stat is so useful. Kaprizov also ranked eighth in the NHL among wingers in IFF, a stat that measures a player’s unblocked shot attempts.
Taking a player’s xGF and ixG you can scale their numbers to an 82 game season and get an analytical prediction for how many goals they will score.
In this case, based on analytics the Minnesota Wild can expect a 40+ goal season for Kaprizov with an exact number of 37. Also predicting Kirill to not disappoint in his sophomore season with an 80+ point season. This would make Kaprizov the fifth player in the Wild’s history to record 70 or more points.
The Novokuznetsk, Russia, native is projected to record 36 goals and 35 assists. That will make him the second player in Wild history to record 35 or more goals and 35 or more assists in a single season.
Kirill Kaprizov is a big-time player and a huge piece in the Wild’s success going forward. With the division alignments going back to normal it will be interesting to see how Kaprizov and the Wild rank against teams outside of playing California teams every night.
There is no doubt in my mind if Kaprizov stays healthy he will have a 30-goal season which will be very fun to watch. With the Wild and the Xcel Energy Center planning on having full capacity for season, you can expect 18,000+ fans waiting to watch the prized winger live.