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Making A Case For Kirill Kaprizov

With the Wild struggling to score goals once again, its become apparent that they need a more dynamic player who can take over the game at a moment's notice. Since the price to trade or sign one of these players is incredibly high, the Wild will need to find this player in the draft.

Did the Wild find this player already? Lets examine the case of Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota's 5th round pick last summer.
Image courtesy of Andrei Chudaev-Metallurg NK
Kaprizov fell to the Wild in the fifth round (after a trade with Boston to get that pick), a round of the draft they have had horrid success in during their franchise history. However the concern with Kaprizov was that he would not leave the KHL, thus his dropping to the fifth round. Another knock on him was his small frame (5'9", 185 lbs), but still a bit of time for growth.

But what makes Kaprizov so enticing, is the production he is putting up in the KHL as an 18 year old. So far this season for Metallurg Novokuznetsk, Kaprizov has scored 11 goals and 15 assists in 46 games played. And if you compare that to some other notable Russian players who played in the KHL at that age, he falls right along the same lines as they do.

Vladimir Tarasenko (STL) age 18 season in KHL: 42 GP, 13 G, 11 A, 24 P
Evgeni Kuznetsov (WSH) age 18 season in KHL: 44 GP, 17 G, 15 A, 32 P
Kirill Kaprizov age 18 season in KHL: 46 GP, 11 G, 15 A, 26 P

Not bad company to be in for Kaprizov, who was selected to the Eastern Conference All-Star team in the KHL this season. Keep in mind he has put up these numbers for one of the worst teams in the KHL, this season, which makes it all the more impressive.

Update: Kaprizov scored three goals and had an assist in the KHL All-Star Game on Saturday.

[Also read: There is a lot to like about Kirill Kaprizov]

Kaprizov has been able to make some dazzling plays this season, whether that has come in the KHL or the World Junior Classic, he has been able to make some spectacular plays, which is something the Wild would dearly love to see on their roster.



But again, it all comes back to the question of whether or not the Wild can get Kaprizov to come over from Russia. He signed a three year contract extension with Metallurg this past summer, so it would be logical to assume he would play out that contract before coming over to the Wild (both Tarasenko and Kuznetsov came over to the NHL when they were 21. Kaprizov's contract would take him to age 21).

In an interview with the Hockey Writers last month, Kaprizov did express an interest in joining the Wild down the road, but he was focused on playing with Metallurg right now. Another key point in the piece was that he is trying to model his game after Tarasenko, who is his favorite player in the NHL today.

So while the Wild sit here and ponder over where they are going to find that dynamic offensive player they so badly need, the answer may already lie within their own system with Kaprizov. He is still a few years away, he appears to have an exciting skill set that would translate well to the NHL.

But again, it all comes down to whether or not the Wild can get him here...


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7 Comments

What is Kaprizov's size compared to the other two boys you mention? 

Giles Ferrell
Jan 25 2016 11:27 AM

 

What is Kaprizov's size compared to the other two boys you mention? 

 

Right now Tarasenko is listed at 6'0", 219 lbs and Kuznetsov 6'0", 192 lbs. Kaprizov might add an inch or two in height, but that's about it. He has a bit of bulking up to do, but he has plenty of time.

 

It would be interesting to see what Tarasenko and Kuznetsov were listed as when they both were 18.

Tarasenko 6-0 219

Kuznetzov 6-0 172

Kaprizov 5-9 185

 

He's similar in size to Sergei Samsonov (5-8 188)

 

It would be interesting to see what Tarasenko and Kuznetsov were listed as when they both were 18.

 

I can all but guarantee neither grew 3 inches from 18 to 21. It's rare that a kid grows an inch or two. Only two players I can think of are Burns and Graovac, and both added maybe an inch, two at the most.

Giles Ferrell
Jan 25 2016 11:34 AM

On draft day, Tarasenko was listed as 6'0", 211 lbs and Kuznetsov was listed as 6'0-3/4", 183 lbs

vichrodrigues
Jan 25 2016 11:40 AM

KHL site lists Kaprizov as 5'10", ~190 lbs.

Giles Ferrell
Jan 25 2016 11:43 AM

 

KHL site lists Kaprizov as 5'10", ~190 lbs.

Wild website has him at 5'9", 185 lbs. I was looking at the wrong measure of height/weight on eliteprospects. My bad. I'll update it.

    • vichrodrigues likes this

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