Earlier this offseason, there were reports that CSKA Moscow was interested in bringing back Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov to the KHL if things didn’t go well in terms of negotiating a new contract with Minnesota. While it was widely viewed as posturing, it appears the threat could be a real one as Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reports (Twitter link) that CSKA has an agreement in place with the 24-year-old that would be announced on September 1st if an NHL deal can’t be reached by then. He adds that the value of the one-year contract would be in the eight-figure ($USD) range.
It’s worth noting that the KHL threat is the only leverage that Kaprizov has in negotiations. He doesn’t have enough service time to be eligible for an offer sheet nor was he arbitration-eligible. This basically was the only card that his camp can play.
Minnesota’s long-stated intention has been to lock up the Calder Trophy winner to a max-term deal or close to it but that type of term isn’t necessarily ideal for Kaprizov’s camp. Even if the Upper Limit of the salary cap only rises marginally over the next few years, that’s still a bit more money available then than there is now with the potential for more years to be in a cap environment where the escrow owed to owners has been paid off. From his standpoint, then, a short-term contract that takes him to UFA eligibility would be preferable though that clearly wouldn’t work for the Wild.
The end result would appear to be something in the middle as Seravalli notes that a medium-term deal is something that Minnesota is open to working out. Such a contract would buy out a year or two of UFA eligibility while still giving Kaprizov a shot at hitting the open market with a shot at a max-term deal in a financial landscape that projects to be considerably better than it is now.
With more than $19MM in cap room per CapFriendly, Wild GM Bill Guerin can easily afford the substantial raise that is coming Kaprizov’s way and the decision to take Kevin Fiala to arbitration sets up the potential for a cheaper short-term agreement there which would give them even more flexibility heading into next season. Of course, that flexibility will be short-lived with the buyout penalties for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise increasing sharply for 2022-23 through 2024-25.