Source: Wild star Kirill Kaprizov expected to return to Minnesota on Tuesday
The 25-year-old left Russia late last week by way of Turkey, according to The Athletic, and arrived in New York City over the weekend.
ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov is back in the United States, and the 25-year-old Russian is expected to return to Minnesota on Tuesday, a source confirmed to the Pioneer Press.
This is very good news for the Wild after a report surfaced last month alleging that Kaprizov had purchased fraudulent military identification in his native Russia. While those allegations have been largely refuted, Kaprizov’s whereabouts have been unclear for much of the past few weeks.
Michael Russo of The Athletic was the first to report the news of Kaprizov’s return stateside. He left Russia late last week by way of Turkey, according to The Athletic, and arrived in New York City over the weekend.
Many assumed the issue surrounding Kaprizov would be resolved at some point. But Wild owner Craig Leipold admitted last month that he had some concerns, and understandably so.
“It’s pretty hard not to be little nervous about it, right?” Leipold told the Pioneer Press last month. “I mean, I think every team that has Russian players that are back in Russia right now, they can all say ‘No, I’m not nervous right now, I’m not nervous.’ Until he gets back into the United States, I’m going to be a little nervous.”
Asked about Kaprizov last month at the annual NHL draft, Wild general manager Bill Guerin had no update. While it’s clear he didn’t want to say too much about the very sensitive situation, Guerin did deny a report that alleged Kaprizov had returned to the U.S.
“He’s in Russia, and he’s doing fine,” Guerin said at the time. “He’s with his friends and with his family.”
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman also delicately addressed the matter at the draft, noting that it’s “probably not a good idea” for the league to get involved in “the politics of what’s going on in Russia” at the moment.
“I don’t want to say anything that could be misconstrued or cause an inflammation of a sensitive situation,” Bettman said at the time. “The Russian players that still reside in Russia need to make sure they’re making the best possible decisions for themselves and their families.”
After winning the Calder Trophy following the 2020-21 season, Kaprizov signed a 5-year, $45-million contract with the Wild last offseason. He had a stellar 2021-22 season, setting Wild franchise records with 47 goals, 61 assists and 108 points.
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