Last season, with his vigor and skill of Caprice, he made a splash in the NHL, winning the Calder Trophy for the best newcomer in the league. Usually, such an explosive start for hockey players of his caliber is followed by a long-term stable career and an impressive contract. But, as it turned out, Kaprizov and Minnesota want different things: the Russian prefers a short-term bridge contract, and the club expects to sign it for an impressive amount of money for at least 7-8 years. For several months the parties have not been able to come to an agreement.
Curiously, if the negotiations fail, Minnesota risks little: just the loss of one of the most talented strikers in the club’s history. This can negatively affect the prospects of the team in the next couple of years, worsen statistics, cool the enthusiasm of the fans, and that’s all. With their not the highest ambitions in terms of the fight for the Stanley Cup, they will survive it.
But Caprice sacrifices much more, and first of all – his reputation overseas and growth opportunities. He showed his talent and received from Minnesota a generous offer of $ 8-9 million a year, which he deserves one hundred percent. And the fact that the parties are not getting one step closer to the contract subtly indicates who is to blame. With each day of waiting, irritation overseas is growing, and Whims is becoming an increasingly controversial figure.
“This is just ridiculous,” wrote Michael Russo, an authoritative columnist for The Athletic, commenting on the amount of the offer to the Russian. “In a league where honored stars like Braden Point from Tampa are signing contracts for $ 8-9 million a year, Wild can’t sign a guy with 55 NHL appearances for the same amount!”
The key quality indicator for overseas experts is not the title of Olympic champion, winner of the Gagarin Cup or the best KHL sniper, but the number of games played at a high level in the NHL. Therefore, leaving out the merits of Kaprizov in Russia, many are surprised how long the negotiations dragged on with the rather impressive amount of the proposed contract.
Kirill Kaprizov / Photo: © KHL / Vladimir Bezzubov
Minnesota fans, who snapped up Kaprizov’s jerseys and T-shirts with his name during the season, also cooled off. If at the beginning of the summer they were impressed by his game, now, realizing that the Russian is not eager to link his career with the most hockey state of the United States once and for all, they are sharing “ducks” on social networks. For example, that Kaprizov estimates his game at 13.5 million per season, so he is in no hurry to renew his contract with Wild. “With such dreams, stay in the KHL,” hockey fans write on Twitter.
By the way, about the KHL: according to insider Frank Seravalli, CSKA is indeed offering Caprice a new contract for next season. For an eight-figure dollar amount, that’s at least 10 million. If a Russian agrees, he will earn at least 6-7 times more than any other hockey player in the KHL. Isn’t that crazy?
Even if the army team hopes to make the transfer of the year and return it to Russia, overseas they look at this opportunity only as blackmail from the player and his agent. As you know, it is because of the constant threat to stay longer in the KHL that North American clubs have looked at Russian players in the NHL draft with suspicion for many years. Now the situation has changed, and it is almost impossible to return really strong hockey players of Kaprizov’s level to Russia. On the other hand, the amount of money that CSKA is ready to sprinkle him with was not yet at stake.
The key question in this whole story is: Does Caprice want to play in North America? If the answer is yes, then in any case he will have to sacrifice something: either an early opportunity to become an unrestricted free agent, or the size of his salary if a short contract is signed. There is no other way to make a fair deal with Minnesota. Sooner or later the moment comes when for the sake of a lofty goal – and the opportunity to play in the best league in the world can be called such – it is worth taking a step forward. Otherwise, there will be no one on the other side of the ocean, except for the general manager of “Minnesota” Bill Guerin, who will wait for his return.