NHL Rumor Mill – August 10, 2021
Could the contract standoff between Kirill Kaprizov and the Wild lead to a trade? Are the Oilers in the market for a defenseman? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
THE ATHLETIC: Michael Russo examined the latest development in the contract standoff between the Minnesota Wild and Kirill Kaprizov. The 24-year-old winger reportedly has a tentative agreement with KHL team CSKA Moscow on a one-year deal said to be worth at least $10 million in US dollars beginning September 1.
The Wild have reportedly had offers of seven and eight years on the table for Kaprizov worth $9 million annually. That would be the richest annual contract in franchise history for the 2021 Calder Trophy winner.
Wild general manager Bill Guerin is willing to sign Kaprizov to a five- or six-year contract. However, he doesn’t want a deal for less than three years because the winger would become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
Kaprizov lacks arbitration rights and isn’t eligible to receive an offer sheet from a rival NHL club. Russo reports both sides have stayed in constant contact but appeared to have reached a stalemate. He wonders if Guerin will make further offers to Kaprizov or call his bluff. He also raised the possibility of trading the winger’s rights but consider it hard to imagine the Wild GM going that route.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kaprizov has limited NHL experience but, as Russo points out, the Russian winger is a rising star and already considered one of the most talented players in Wild history. His agent is trying to use that to his side’s advantage.
Given Kaprizov’s current contract status, using the KHL contract is the only bargaining chip he’s got. His camp wants the short-term deal so they can leverage his UFA eligibility in 2024 into a massive raise from the Wild or another NHL club via free agency in three year’s time.
Some observers are dismissive of this tactic by Kaprizov. It’ll be interesting to see if Guerin shares that view. While he could attempt to trade the winger’s rights, I doubt he’ll go that far. If he does, there might not be many teams willing to take him off his hands if he’s not under contract.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Kurt Leavins expects the Oilers will add at least one more veteran depth defenseman before training camp opens next month. They’re looking for someone around $950K. Two primary names worth watching are Slater Koekkoek and Jordie Benn.