The Minnesota Wild are not concerned by the pace of contract negotiations with forward Kirill Kaprizov, general manager Bill Guerin said Monday.
Kaprizov, who is a restricted free agent, won the Calder Trophy voted as NHL rookie of the year last season. The 24-year-old became the first Minnesota player to win the award after leading rookies in goals (27), points (51), power-play goals (eight) and shots on goal (157) in 55 games. He was also second in even-strength points (38) and power-play points (13), and tied for third in plus/minus rating (plus-10).
He helped the Wild (35-16-5) finish as the No. 3 seed in the Honda West Division and scored three points (two goals, one assist) in the Stanley Cup First Round, when they were eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in seven games.
“I think things are going well enough,” Guerin said. “We still have lots of time, there’s no rush or panic. I’m in constant communication with Kirill’s agent. We continue to move forward.”
Guerin said he was still hoping to sign Kaprizov to a long-term contract and was not worried by reports that the forward could be considering returning to his native Russia to play in the Kontinental Hockey League.
Kaprizov, who was selected by Minnesota in the fifth round (No. 135) of the 2015 NHL Draft, played six seasons in the KHL before signing a two-year, entry-level contract with the Wild on July 13, 2020.
“It’s not my decision,” Guerin said. “It doesn’t bother me at all.”
On Monday, the Wild signed their other key restricted free agent forward, Kevin Fiala, to a one-year, $5.1 million contract, avoiding a salary arbitration hearing scheduled for Tuesday. They also previously signed forward Joel Eriksson Ek to an eight-year, $42 million contract ($5.25 million average annual value) on July 2.
NHL.com independent correspondent Jessi Pierce contributed to this report