Kirill Kaprizov
(image from Harry How/Getty Images)

Kirill Kaprizov Re-Signs with Minnesota Wild

Star winger Kirill Kaprizov signed a five-year, $45 million contract extension on Tuesday to stay with the Minnesota Wild.

As an NHL rookie, “Kirill the Thrill” led the Wild in scoring with 27 goals and 24 assists in 55 regular season games. He also produced two goals and an assist in a seven-game playoff series, where Minnesota was ousted by the Vegas Golden Knights.

Kaprizov posted on Instagram immediately following the announcement:
Kirill Kaprizov posted this picture captioned “Let’s go” of his and his teammates from the ’20-’21 NHL season.

The agreement took much longer than Minnesota fans hoped. Last year’s Calder Trophy winner entered this past offseason as a restricted free agent for Minnesota, and many feared the 24-year-old would defect back to his home country of Russia and play in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), where he was considered a superstar. Since ’16-’20, Kaprizov put up 195 points in 209 KHL games. He was able to use that worrying doubt as leverage to secure a large deal.

The average annual value (AAV) of the deal sits at $9 million and will carry through the ’25-’26 season. That is pretty hefty for a 24-year-old with just one NHL season under his belt. It puts Kirill as the 24th highest player in the league by AAV. Fortunately, on July 13, Minnesota cleared over $10 million in salary cap space by buying out the mega contracts of veterans Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. It seemed the two top priorities for the Wild this summer was to bring both center Joel Eriksson Ek and Kaprizov back long-term.

The Wild qualified for the postseason last year, as they finished third in the NHL’s one-time West division. They are looking to compete for another playoff spot in the Central division this upcoming ’21-‘22 season. Minnesota has not made it through the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs since ’14-’15. With Kirill Kaprizov back, they are a dangerous team that could make a sneaky run.

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