The Minnesota Wild open training camp this week with players reporting on Wednesday and workouts starting the next day. There will be one notable absence, however: Kirill Kaprizov.
The league’s reigning rookie of the year, remains in Russia in a contract stalemate. When, and if it ends, is the question.
“Honestly I have nothing new to tell you,” Wild general manager Bill Guerin said when asked about the situation during a media session on Sunday. “ I would tell you but really don’t have anything new.
“I’m disappointed that we don’t have him signed, but as I’ve said all along we are not special we are not the only team in this situation,” Guerin said. “He’s not the only player. ”
Michael Russo of The Athletic wrote that if even Kaprizov signs in the near future, he will miss a majority of camp. He will first have to first obtain a work visa and then be subjected to at least a seven-day quarantine when he arrives in the States, as mandated by the NHL.
How soon that happens is remains to be seen.
Russo wrote that:
"The good news in this never-ending soap opera?It sounds like the two sides are talking again after going more than a week of silence. So the hope inside the organization is Kaprizov accepts a lucrative contract that sources say has been on the table for weeks — a five-year deal in the $9 million range — after earlier in the summer the reigning Calder Trophy winner rejected what sources say was an eight-year offer at roughly $72 million."
However, St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Charlie Walters had a interesting note near the end of his latest piece. He wrote:
"Pssst: Not long ago, the Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov told a prominent teammate he wouldn’t re-sign for a penny less than $10 million a year."
The contract drama has stretched through the offseason and included a rumor that Kaprizov had an offer to join the KHL again. The offer and a supposed Sept. 1 deadline turned out to be an unsuccessful ploy if anything.
But Kaprizov’s absence remains a cloud over the team that is coming off a strong season last year and begins camp with a solid returning core along with some exciting prospects like Matt Boldy and Marco Rossi.
Yet, Guerin made it clear it won’t become a distraction for the Wild in camp.
” Hey, look training camp starts next week and when that starts, we’re going to focus on the guys that we have there,” Guerin said. ” This happens all the time but well just move ahead.”
Of the optimism he believes those players have going into camp and this season?
” The feeling here is good. (The players) really believe that we have something good going on here and we are growing something,” Guerin said. “I think that is a very positive sign.”