Kirill Kaprizov’s magic is on display every night. The Minnesota Wild’s star recently set the franchise record for most points in a season with his 84th, an assist on a Mats Zuccarello goal, against the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday. The Russian winger has single-handedly transformed a Wild team that has been average at best for most of their existence. A guy like Kaprizov is what Minnesota needed to take their club to the next level. We’re witnessing team history. Kaprizov is on pace to do something no Wild player has ever done before.
Score 100 points in a season.
Kaprizov has not played two full seasons in Minnesota, and he’s already breaking franchise records. We are in a new era of Wild hockey, and Kaprizov is at the forefront.
Ever since he became a stud in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, fans in Minnesota couldn’t wait for Kaprizov to finally sign with the Wild. He was a star in Russia, leading the KHL in goals for two years in a row, and was selected to five consecutive All-Star games. People could not stop talking about him. Fans made Twitter accounts dedicated to the countdown of days until Kirill arrived in St. Paul and finally became an NHL player. He even has a legion of fan accounts on Instagram.
Sure, the Wild have had some great players, but none come close to the skill level Kaprizov has. If he continues at the pace he’s at, he’ll end up breaking every single franchise scoring record. He already holds the record for most points scored in a season. There are still 13 games left for him to add to that record.
Always humble, Kaprizov acknowledged his great achievement. “It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” he said. “I’d like to thank all my teammates, all the coaching staff, everyone in the organization that made it possible. I think tonight we can maybe do a little bit of celebrating.”
He is currently on pace for more than 100 points. He is sitting at 87, so he’d need to score 13 in 13 games. Should be easy for the star winger.
Goals and assists record next? “I don’t know, maybe. We’ll see.” Kaprizov said with a smile on his face.
Kaprizov is only three goals away from eclipsing Marian Gaborik for most goals scored in a single season. He’s also three behind Zuccarello for the team lead in assists. Zuccarello's next assist will set a team record currently shared with Pierre-Marc Bouchard, so it’ll be a race to see who gets the record in the end.
“It’s fun for him, fun for all of us. He’s a special player like we all know,” Mats Zuccarello said of Kaprizov. The two players have become one of the most dynamic duos in the league this season. Naturally, Kaprizov assisted on Zuccarello’s 20th goal of the season to achieve the points record against the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday. Later in the game, Zuccarello assisted on Kaprizov’s 39th goal of the season. Three days later in Nashville, they both assisted on goals from each other, this time seeing Kaprizov getting his milestone 40th goal.
The two have been bonded ever since Kaprizov arrived in Minnesota. “We’re kind of the same person. I’m a little bit older, but he keeps me young,” Zuccarello said of his buddy Kaprizov. “He keeps me on the ice. He’s competitive, we both are. We like to be on each other, chirping each other a little bit. We have a good relationship. It’s not often you find someone you click with that well, on and off the ice. It’s special for me.”
They’ll most likely end up helping each other out with their next record-breaking endeavors.
“I’ve played with a lot of great players. Some you click with more than others. That’s just the way it is.” To say that Kaprizov and Zuccarello click is an understatement. Zuccarello has an assist on 22 of Kaprizov’s 40 goals this season and 31 of his 67 career goals. Kaprizov has done his fair share of helping as well. He has assisted on 18 of Zuccarello's 32 goals in two seasons of being linemates.
Minnesota has never seen a connection like the two players have. “They definitely obviously have more than just chemistry on the ice,” head coach Dean Evason raved about the two star players. “I think people are seeing it now.”
Kaprizov’s dominance in Minnesota and the NHL is only beginning. He turns 25 later this month and is entering his prime. The talent Kaprizov has is unreal. Sure, he can have games where he doesn’t do anything spectacular, like on Sunday, where he did not tally any points. But he never slows down. He’s never really had a huge scoring slump. Kaprizov is consistent in his point production and is a huge part of Minnesota's great season this year. The Wild could end up with over 100 points by the end of the season, which they haven’t done since the 2017-18 season.
The Wild have had their fair share of prospects who didn’t pan out. But Kaprizov has delivered on his promise. Minnesota finally has someone who makes the Wild must-see television with the records he's breaking. There are plenty of games left this season and more than enough time for Kaprizov to shatter even more Wild records.
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