ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Wild have a little more than a month before training camp begins, plenty of time to get Kirill Kaprizov signed to a long-term contract extension, general manager Bill Guerin said Monday.
While addressing the team’s new one-year, $5.1 million contract with Kevin Fiala, Guerin was asked if he had anything to report on the Wild’s effort to sign Kaprizov, the 2020-21 winner of the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.
“Not really,” he said.
Still, he added, it’s not time to panic, even if the Wild begin camp on Sept. 23 and have their first preseason game scheduled for Sept. 25 at St. Louis.
“I think things are going well enough,” Guerin said. “We still have lots of time. There’s no rush or panic. I’m in constant communication with Karill’s agent, and we continue to move forward.”
In fact, Guerin appeared confident Kaprizov, a restricted free agent, would choose the Wild over his only alternative — returning to Russia and playing in the KHL.
Guerin was hoping to get Fiala signed to a long term deal but settled for one year when it became apparent that was the only option. Asked if that might become the case with Kaprizov, the GM said, “No, (the deal) will be longer.”
The Wild drafted Kaprizov, 24, late in the 2015 draft and waited five years for him to join the team. He paid off that faith by leading the team with 27 goals and 51 points in 55 games last season. Because he signed his two-year, two-way rookie contract before the NHL restarted its 2019-20 COVID season and never joined the team, the Wild only got Kaprizov for one season before he became a restricted free agent.
Still, the Wild remain his only NHL option. With only one season under his belt, he can’t become an unrestricted free agent until he turns 27. But he could return to Russia, where he scored 78 goals and 153 points in 160 games and won two league championships with CSKA Moscow from 2017-19.
On Aug. 9, Frank Seravalli of the Daily Faceoff tweeted that Kaprisov has a tentative, one-year deal for “eight figures” — i.e. $10 million — waiting for him with CSKA Moscow should he not sign with Minnesota.
When asked about that report on Monday, Guerin said, “It’s not my decision. It doesn’t bother me at all.”
Asked whether Guerin could say whether the report is true, he said, “How would I be able to tell you that? I can’t tell you if it’s true or not. I don’t know.”
Kaprizovs agent, Paul Theofanous, could not be reached Monday.