It’s May, so it’s optimism season for fans of the Minnesota Wild.
Staring down potential back-to-back seasons not making the Stanley Cup Playoffs, until COVID-19 shut the season down until further notice, the Wild were struggling to figure out what to do with their aging and overpaid veterans and rising stars.
Do they rebuild? Retool?
Signs suggested a mix with the hiring of GM Bill Guerin to replace Paul Fenton.
But the most interesting storyline to come out of all of the noise and wavering was the team’s NHL rights to Kontinetal Hockey League (KHL) youngin’ and superstar, Kirill Kaprizov.
Kaprizov’s contract with Moscow’s CSKA Moscow, the oft referred to “Central Red Army” by the West, ran out on Thursday April, 30th meaning the Wild could sign him as early as today, May 1st.
After being selected by the Wild in fifth round (No. 135) of the 2015 draft, Kaprizov has become one of the most prominent players in the world to not play in the NHL.
At 23, the winger has led the KHL in goals the last two seasons, been an All-Star the last five, and recorded 14 points in 19 games assisting CSKA Moscow to the Gagarin Cup championship in 2018-19.
If signed, the clouds should begin to clear in St. Paul as the team will be stocked with tons of young talent. From a breakout season by Kevin Fiala (23 G/31 A/54 Pts) to Luke Kunin’s emergence (15 G/16 A/31 Pts) and Jordan Greenway’s contributions (8 G/20 A/28 Pts).
The future is bright for this team, and optimism should be aplenty when play resumes!