When you glance at the medium and long-term outlook for the Wild, you soak in a cloudy view. On the bright side, there have been some positive bits of Minnesota Wild news lately, including something fairly promising regarding crucial forward Kirill Kaprizov.
Here’s a round-up of those Wild news bits.
Positive (though small?) steps for Kaprizov – Wild contract talks
To some extent, the Wild/Kirill Kaprizov contract news boils down to limited movement. For those who might have been getting really worried, baby steps probably feel like leaps, though. So there’s this.
Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Michael Russo reported that, on one hand, a Kaprizov-Wild contract is “not imminent.” On the other hand, it sounds like (an at least rhetorical threat) has been eliminated. According to Russo, the KHL’s CSKA Moscow stated Kaprizov is not playing there.
Russo also notes that there’s been quite a bit of talk between the Wild and Kaprizov. That all sounds promising.
A contract doesn’t sound imminent, but the good news on the Kirill Kaprizov contract talks with the #mnwild, there’s been a lot of conversation lately between the Wild and the Calder Trophy winner’s side. Also, CSKA Moscow has publicly stated he’s not playing there this season.
— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) August 23, 2021
Earlier, Russo reported that Kaprizov turned down the sort of contract offers that might be on the high-end of what lingering RFAs might expect this offseason. At least publicly, it seemed like Kaprizov was putting more heat on the Wild than other RFAs were squeezing on their teams. That was a remarkable bit of work, being that Kaprizov lacks certain talking points (cannot receive offer sheet, turned down salary arbitration, small-but-outstanding body of work).
This could still be a drawn-out situation, no doubt. It still seems like a rosier outlook than even a few weeks ago, however.
For all of the justified attention paid to the Wild merely signing Kaprizov, maybe this is an opportunity to wonder what would be the best-case scenario. Especially for both team and player.
[More on what RFAs such as Kaprizov might be seeking during this offseason]
Again, as sensational as Kaprizov was, one truncated season still qualifies as a small sample size. While Kaprizov shot at a percentage that will be tough to match (17.2-percent), he’d reasonably argue that he’d rack up more assists with more talented linemates.
So, it’s tricky to gauge his true value. Maybe that means a shorter or medium-term deal would work best for all involved? Ultimately, the Wild want Kaprizov to stay in the fold above all else, but it will be interesting to learn of the eventual years and dollars.
Rossi opens up, and other Minnesota bits
If you’ve even stayed vaguely aware of Marco Rossi‘s COVID-related struggles, you’ll realize how frightening his situation was. If Rossi could make a positive impact for the Wild (possibly as soon as 2021-22), it would be that much more impressive.
Russo went in-depth on Rossi’s experiences, including how important Thomas Vanek was as a mentor, at The Athletic (sub required). These details from his parents are pretty jarring:
And Marco’s parents thought about the real downtrodden times, like the string of gut-wrenching evenings last winter when their frightened son, so terrified that he wouldn’t wake up in the morning, begged his parents with tears in his eyes to sleep in his room next to his bed in case his heart failed while he was asleep.
Scary stuff. Rossi merely feeling better is already hugely comforting. If he can deliver on his considerable potential, especially soon, it would really be something.
- Speaking of intriguing Wild first-rounders, the team signed Carson Lambos (26th overall in 2021) to an entry-level contract on Wednesday.
- The Wild should have no shortage of options for young players during training camp. Maybe they’ll end up relying on them more than ideal … but still.
I recently wrote @10KRinks about the opportunities Khovanov can grab in North America, and how it can help him put an underwhelming COVID year behind him: https://t.co/1OvPW5tuSF https://t.co/IxG8ZhZTJP
— Tony of the USS 10KRinks.com (@OhHiTony) August 23, 2021
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.