Wild’s Kaprizov Continues to Set Records, Hits 100 Point Milestone

Back in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, the Minnesota Wild chose names like Joel Eriksson Ek and Jordan Greenway, but they also drafted a Russian kid late in the fifth round that no one really knew about, and it has turned out to be one of the best selections they ever made. It took about five years, but that kid made his way to the NHL, onto the roster of the Wild, and quickly became one of the faces of the franchise as a rookie.

That kid’s name was Kirill Kaprizov and he started setting franchise records in his first season and has continued to shatter them in his second year. In the Wild’s recent win over the Seattle Kraken, he did it again when he hit the 100-point mark. In fact, he actually ended the night at 101 points. It’s time to take a quick look back at his short time with the Wild and how he got to this point.

Wild Have a Calder Winner

His first season in the NHL was cut short due to the COVID pandemic, as he played 55 of the 56 games. He was pulled from their last game to prepare for the postseason. He started setting records in his rookie season that included the most goals in a season by a rookie, the most assists in a season by a rookie, and he also tied for the most goals in a game by a rookie.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

That was just the beginning, as he set the record for the longest goal streak in a season by a rookie and the most multi-point games by a rookie before the season came to a close. All of those records and his outstanding play earned him a recognition no Wild player has ever had before as he won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year out of the entire NHL. He won the trophy almost unanimously, as only one person voted for him to take second instead of first, so it was well-earned.

Wild’s Kaprizov Continues to Break Records

As if all the record-breaking he did in his first season wasn’t astonishing enough, he’s continued to impress in his second season. He started the season a little slow, even though he scored in the first three games of the season, he had a few quiet games, and then things really started to move along. He now owns the records for most goals, assists, and points in a single season for a Wild player, but the most impressive thing so far has been hitting 100 points.

Related: Wild’s Scorers Set More Franchise Records in Win Over Kraken

He still has four games left to add to his already impressive numbers and hopefully help the Wild win the last four games to steal home-ice advantage in the playoffs. He can then work on setting records in the postseason, as he’s come close but he doesn’t hold any records in the playoffs yet. If he continues at the pace he’s at, he’ll start setting them very soon.

Wild Benefit from Kaprizov

Obviously, the Wild have benefitted from the way Kaprizov has performed over the last two seasons. They’ve won more games thanks to him but that’s not all. Nearly the entire team has upped their performance level because of him. His linemates Ryan Hartman and Mats Zuccarello have improved their play to the point that they both have career highs in points and assists, and Zuccarello is still working on a new career-high in goals; he’s just three shy of breaking it.

Kirill Kaprizov Minnesota Wild Winter Classic
Kirill Kaprizov, Minnesota Wild Winter Classic (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)

Zuccarello is 34 years old and he’s playing like he’s 24, as adding Kaprizov to his line has helped him play faster and younger. Hartman is similar, he was a rather quiet, non-threatening player but ever since he was added as the center for Zuccarello and Kaprizov, he’s become a 30-goal scorer and has scoring chances in nearly every game he plays.  

No matter who ends up on Kaprizov’s line, on the rare chance someone else is, their gameplay is elevated almost immediately. Kevin Fiala and Matt Boldy both had scoring chances in their game against the Kraken on both the power play as well as when Zuccarello was injured towards the end of the game and they needed a wing for the top line. They filled in and found scoring chances galore.

Wild’s Future with Kaprizov

The Wild were lucky enough over the last offseason to sign Kaprizov to a five-year contract. So far the first year seems to be working out wonderfully for both sides. Clearly, no one can tell the future on if this success will continue, but things do look promising. He’s still young himself but with the effects on his teammates so far, prospects coming up from the American Hockey League can benefit greatly from his presence, and learn from him as they progress.

He’s only missed one game this season due to a minor injury and he’s improved his physical game to protect himself better. He’s really become an all-around player in a short amount of time that’s able to score goals and help prevent them too. He’s not hugely involved in the defense all the time but as of late, he’s been attempting to block more shots and become more invested in that part of the game. The more he continues to improve, the more this team will improve and hopefully have many solid years to look forward to, and more 100-point seasons as well.

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