Drafted 135th overall in 2015 to the Minnesota Wild, Kirill Kaprizov was someone Minnesota had been waiting on for a long time. Five years to be exact as he finally hit the ice for the Wild in their 2020-21 season but he proved he was worth the wait after getting 51 points in 55 games and ending the year being awarded the Calder Trophy, the NHL’s rookie of the year award. This is the first Wild player to get awarded the Calder and it certainly won’t be the last award this young star wins.
In his first season, Kaprizov broke rookie points, goals, and assists totals records held previously by Wild legend, Marian Gaborik, who many Wild fans have been comparing to each other. Gaborik finished his 2000-01 rookie season with 18-18-36 while Kaprizov had 27-24-51 just twenty years after. More impressively, Kaprizov only played 55 games compared to Gaborik’s 71 games due to a shortened NHL season.
Imagine what Kaprizov could’ve done with a full 82 game season.
Kaprizov vs Wild Records
This season, Wild fans get to experience just that. With only 19 games left on the year, Kirill the Thrill has put up 36 goals, 45 assists, and 81 points which is just 3 shy of breaking another Wild single season record, again, held by Marian Gaborik. If Kaprizov can stay healthy and keep his current scoring pace intact, he has a chance of getting over 100 points.
Kaprizov is not only shy 3 points of breaking the Wild’s single season points record but he is also just 7 goals shy of breaking their single season goals record of 42 goals (held by Gaborik) and just 6 assists shy of breaking their single season assists record (held by Pierre-Marc Bouchard).
With those records potentially being broken in just his second season, it is safe to say that Kaprizov has earned his spot amongst the Wild greats and that spot is at the top.
If Kaprizov can stay healthy throughout his career and keep his current 1.11 PPG pace up, it would take around 7 to 8 more seasons with the Wild to break Mikko Koivu’s all time points totals of 709 in a Wild uniform. On top of that, he can break another Gaborik and Wild all time goals record of 219 in just 5 more healthy seasons. Hopefully he sticks around in Minnesota for that long.
Personal and Linemates Growth
Kirill Kaprizov, in his career with the Wild, has played 118 games and tallied 63 goals, 69 assists, and 132 points which is roughly 1.11 points per game. His year one average was 0.92 points per game compared to his season two 1.28 points per game. If he can continue staying healthy and consistently reach over 1.28 or more, there is no reason why he wouldn’t get over 100 points multiple times in his career.
He has also helped linemate Mats Zuccarello reach career high in points (67) and assists (48), again, with 19 games still left to play. Zuccarello, who speaks Russian, has been a huge help to Kaprizov as he has adjusted to life in Minnesota with knowing very little english. The two have been one of the best duos to watch the past two seasons as they have a way of finding each other in any way possible on the ice.
Ryan Hartman has also seen a jump in his goal and point totals with 27 goals and 50 points on the season. With a previous career high of 19 goals and 31 points, it is easy to say Kaprizov is a major contributing factor to Hartman’s success this season.
With just 19 games left on the year, the Wild are having one of their best seasons ever and also the best season from an individual with the play of Kirill Kaprizov.
Not only does he have the chance of breaking single season records in goals, assists, and points but he is also on pace to be the first 100 point scorer in Wild history.
On top of that, Kirill currently leads all Russian-born players in points this season, just 3 points ahead of future hall of famer, Alex Ovechkin.
Currently sitting amongst names like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Auston Matthews, and Johnny Gaudreau in the league’s top ten point scorers this year, it’s pretty safe to say Kaprizov is one of the NHL’s best young stars and easily the Wild’s best in a long time. Again, with the chance to break season point, goals, and assists totals in Wild history in just his second season, it is very safe to say Kiril Kaprizov is the best player in Minnesota Wild history. He will continue to be a joy to watch for years to come!
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