According to multiple insider reports, it appears that Minnesota Wild star rookie Kirill Kaprizov is considering a return to the KHL in Russia after contract negotiations between him and Wild GM Bill Guerin have stagnated.
On Friday evening NHL Network analyst Kevin Weekes reported that talks between the Wild and Kaprizov had “gone cold” and that, “My understanding is he’s in Moscow and it’s believed CSKA is interested in signing him for (the) KHL and Olympics.”
Now, Wild insider Michael Russo reports that Kaprizov is indeed in Moscow and that CSKA Moscow is expected to present him with an offer.
From Russo's most recent column for The Athletic:
His agent gave Wild general manager Bill Guerin a heads-up that Kaprizov would be in Moscow for a buddy’s wedding this weekend. Guerin was given advanced warning that if rumors began to swirl, Kaprizov’s return to the city where he used to play pro hockey would be the reason why.
And, also for the record, CSKA Moscow would definitely be interested in re-signing the young star. Of course, they’d love nothing more than to lure Kaprizov back with a pile of money.
The problem, according to Russo is that the Wild would like to sign Kaprizov long-term, while the player would like to ink a shorter term, two or three year "bridge" deal.
Again from Russo:
The Wild want to sign the soon-to-be rookie of the year to a seven- or eight-year contract that would assuredly make him the highest-paid player in franchise history. It would also buy out four or five years of Kaprizov’s unrestricted free agency rights.
Kaprizov’s camp, on the other hand, is looking for not just shorter term, but it sure sounds like they’re looking for a two- or three-year bridge deal.
I've got to say, if I'm a Wild fan this makes me feel awfully nervous. For the record, the Chicago Blackhawks signed superstar Artemi Panarin to a similar bridge deal when he broke into the league and were then forced to trade him just two years later due to budgetary reasons. Now Panarin is one of the highest paid players in the entire NHL... there's no doubt that Kaprizov had his eye on Panarin this entire time. Thoughts, Wild fans?
Source: Michael Russo · Photo Credit: Zuma Press