There are pressure points in every negotiation.
The Wild were hoping the Kirill Kaprizov contract talks would be quick and simple once they started this process months ago by offering him a pile of money that, if he agreed to a long-term deal, would almost certainly make him the highest-paid player in franchise history despite only 55 games of NHL regular-season service.
The Wild also figured they’d hold all the leverage since he’s the type of “free agent” that can’t file for arbitration or sign an offer sheet with another NHL team.
But that doesn’t mean Kaprizov can’t return to the KHL, and that’s precisely the pressure point the Wild find themselves in today.
As The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reported Tuesday night and NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes hinted at last month on Twitter, Kaprizov’s old KHL team, CSKA Moscow, would welcome him back with open arms and have a contract offer sitting in a drawer waiting for Kaprizov to sign if he wants to return home.
Kaprizov has an apartment in Moscow. He trains in Moscow. CSKA Moscow’s training camp is about to open. And, as Wild general manager Bill Guerin has said, Kaprizov’s agent is heading to Moscow next week to meet with Kaprizov.
All of this, especially the fact that Moscow’s training camp is about to begin, is putting pressure on the Wild to get a deal done with Kaprizov.