Wild squeeze past Ducks again; McKenzie on Kaprizov’s next contract

After two blowout losses to the Avalanche, the Wild responded with two blandly effective wins against the Ducks. After beating the Ducks 2-1 on Monday, the Wild squeezed out a 3-2 win on Wednesday.

Now, just because the Wild and Ducks didn’t blow minds, doesn’t mean there was no passion.

In particular, there were hard feelings between the two teams. Consider these stretches of nastiness:

Overall, though, it was the sort of Wild win over the Ducks you’d anticipate, frankly, from the pre-Kirill Kaprizov era. Scoring was modest, and Minnesota relied on offense from their blueliners (two Jared Spurgeon goals off of two Ryan Suter assists).

Maybe fittingly, the most interesting stuff came from an intermission segment about what the next Wild – Kaprizov contract might look like.

McKenzie discusses Karpizov contract talks with Wild

During an appearance on NBCSN, Bob McKenzie provided interesting insight on contract talks between the Wild and Kirill Kaprizov’s reps. Here’s video of that:

If you’d rather not watch, McKenzie pointed some interesting things out about Kaprizov and the Wild, the expansion draft, and pending free agents.

  • McKenzie reports that the Wild and Kaprizov’s reps spoke for about an hour about a future contract.
  • It’s possible that the contract could be mid-range (five or six years), or even long-term. That said, what would Kaprizov want if he signed for what would essentially be the extent of the 23-year-old’s prime?
  • That said, a “bridge” contract might not work, as it could take Kaprizov to unrestricted free agency.
  • McKenzie also brought up a worthwhile point about pending free agents and the Seattle Kraken’s 2021 NHL Expansion Draft. Teams might want to hold off on extensions so said players don’t need to be protected.

For those who are anxious about a pending UFA, maybe that’s some reason to relax? McKenzie implies that there could be deals essentially simmering on the backburner.

That said, if I were a GM, and I sensed that a pending free agent was uncomfortable with uncertainty, maybe you could use that as leverage to sign someone to a team-friendly deal?

Circling back to Kaprizov, as McKenzie said, it’s indeed difficult to tell what is the right contract (price, and term) for Kaprizov. He’s young, and has looked spectacular (even with mixed underlying numbers). But the sample size is small, at least for a long-term contract that also carries a huge price.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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