Some pretty significant news out of Russia, pertaining to prized Wild draftee Kirill Kaprizov — in a tweet sent from the official KHL account, the president of Kaprizov’s CSKA Moscow club said the 20-year-old will play with the team for the next three seasons.
That’s a significant shift with regards to Kaprizov’s future.
In late May, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher said the team was “operating under the assumption he’s got a year left” in Russia, and that Kaprizov would join Minnesota for the ’18-19 campaign.
The Wild selected Kaprizov, a five-foot-nine-inch tall forward, in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL Draft.
He had 42 points in 49 regular season games in the KHL this year, and lit up the 2017 World Juniors with nine goals and 12 points in seven games. He captained the Russians to bronze, was selected to the tournament all-star team, and named the tourney’s top forward.
Kaprizov spent last season with KHL outfit Ufa Salavat Yulayev, but was acquired by CSKA in a cash transaction this offseason.
It wasn’t the club’s only big move.
CSKA is a KHL powerhouse, and has made several other significant acquisitions. Most recently, the club signed former Habs d-man Nikita Nesterov and ex-Avs forward Mikhail Grigorenko. Previously, the club secured the services of Dallas forward Valeri Nichushkin.
So there’s the CSKA factor at play here, and probably the Olympic factor as well. Back in April, Russian hockey federation chairman Arkady Rotenberg said his group would try to keep KHL players from leaving for North America and bring NHL free agents back this summer, with the goal of preparing for and participating in the 2018 Games in South Korea.
In a related note, Ilya Kovalchuk opted against returning to the NHL this summer, and will play next season in Russia as well.