Arizona Coyotes #3: LW/RW Kirill Kaprizov (Metallurg – KHL)
Original Pick #3: C Dylan Strome (Erie Otters – OHL)
Perhaps one of the greatest late-round gems ever, Kirill Kaprizov has shown through his career that it’s not about the journey, it’s about the destination. Originally drafted 135th overall in the 5th Round of the 2015 NHL Draft, the Russian phenom is on a steep incline in the NHL.
Despite impressive performances in the Russian junior MHL and the professional KHL as a 17-year old, there was no telling if the promising goal-scorer was even interested in coming to North America, as he found Russia to be his preferred venue for hockey.
Kirill Kaprizov would continue to work on his craft in Russia with CSKA Moskva from 2017-2020 before he would commit to testing the ice overseas with the Minnesota Wild. In the six years he spent in the KHL, Kirill Kaprizov suited up for 293 games, contributing 113 goals and 117 assists in the regular season, adding 11 goals and 20 helpers in 47 playoff games.
In his first season with the Wild, similar to countryman Artemi Panarin, Kirill Kaprizov would win the Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded as the NHL’s rookie of the year, after leading the team in goals (27) and total points (51) in a shortened 55-game regular season.
Today, the Novokuznetsk, Russia native has 23 goals and 39 assists throughout 48-games played coming off of an impressive showcase of his skills at the NHL All-Star weekend. Kirill’s future in the NHL is incredibly bright and we’re only seeing the beginning of what he can do.