Kirill Kaprizov can give the Minnesota Wild the star power they have long craved

Russian forward Kirill Kaprizov (L) (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Russian forward Kirill Kaprizov (L) (Photo by ALEXANDER NEMENOV/AFP via Getty Images) /

Kirill Kaprizov can be the catalyst for a rapid resurgence for the Minnesota Wild.

It perhaps sounds harsh to say but the Minnesota Wild are arguably one of the most boring and one of the most predictable franchises in the entire NHL, but that could be about to change thanks to the long-awaited arrival of Kirill Kaprizov.

Now, with all due respect to the Wild and expanding on our above statement, it hasn’t exactly been a vintage or golden period in the State of Hockey for Minnesota fans.

Having established a firm reputation for being good enough to squeeze into the postseason but being bad enough to always exit in the First Round, the Minnesota Wild are somewhat entrenched in hockey obscurity right now.

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They’ve been stuck in the time warp for quite some time but, despite being in clear need of emphatically hitting the reset button, the front office have stubbornly stuck to their guns and instead opted to stay on the road of taking on bad contracts that act like albatrosses around the neck of the franchise.

I mean, already on the hook for over $7 million per year for the next five years on both forward Zach Parise and defenseman Ryan Suter, former General Manager Paul Fenton decided to splash out $30 million over five years on a very good but aging Mats Zuccarello, a decision that ultimately sealed his fate.

Fenton’s dismissal paved the way for a new direction under new General Manager Bill Guerin, who has attempted to pull the trigger on somewhat of a rebuild.

However, still lumbered with a veteran core and a plethora of bad contracts, Guerin has got his work cut out for him when it comes to rebuilding the Minnesota Wild and turning them into a team that can consistently compete and get past the First Round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There is light at the end of a very long tunnel, though.

And that hope comes in the form of Russian wonder kid Kirill Kaprizov, who is finally ready to get his Minnesota Wild and NHL career off the ground after a very long wait.

Arriving in the United States earlier this week, Kaprizov posted four negative tests for COVID-19 and, as a result, will be able to start taking part in informal practices with some of his Wild teammates next week.

It will mark the start of an exciting new era for Minnesota who will finally get a close look at the jewell in the crown of their farm system, with Kaprizov arguably the franchise’s most highly-rated and highly-regarded prospect, one we certainly ranked as the best talent in their pipeline anyway.

The No. 135 overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Kaprizov has arguably been one of the best and certainly one of the most exciting players outside of North America over the past couple of years, absolutely lighting it up in Russia and going on an absolute tear.

Kaprizov has led the KHL, arguably the best league outside of the NHL, in goals in each of the last two seasons with 33 and 30 respectively, while he has put up a crazy 195 points in 205 games over the last four years on all fronts.

That isn’t forgetting a career-year in 2019-20 when the 23-year-old wing put up 33 goals and 29 assists for 62 points in 57 KHL games for CSKA Moskva.

Basically, Kaprizov dominated in Russia and now, after signing a two-year, $2,775,000 Entry-Level Contract earlier in the summer with the Wild, the uber-talented forward is now ready to showcase his considerable talents on the biggest stage in the NHL.

No matter how the 2020-21 season looks, Kaprizov will be one of the most compelling rookies to watch, and the young stud is just what the Minnesota Wild need right now.

With fans in the State of the Hockey craving a legitimate star they can pin all of their hopes on, Kaprizov can be that guy and, if he can unlock his potential and live up to lofty expectations, then he could be the savior this franchise so desperately needs.

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This team as it is currently constituted lacks real star power outside of Zach Parise or Matt Dumba but, in Kirill Kaprizov, they now have a genuine game changer who could spark real interest back into the Minnesota Wild and perhaps, eventually, transform this franchise into a real formidable force in the postseason.

Plus, Kaprizov is good enough to lead a rebuild and have a whole team and franchise built around him if that is the path the front office wants to take, an option they haven’t had before due to the lack of an elite stud in the farm system.

The Kirill Kaprizov era has officially started for the Minnesota Wild and we can’t wait to see it all unfold.