Featured Posts | Wild

Immediate impact: Kirill Kaprizov is first Wild player to win Calder Trophy

Coyotes Wild Hockey
Minnesota Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov (97) handles the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Arizona Coyotes, Friday, March 12, 2021, in St. Paul, Minn. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

Kirill Kaprizov became the first player in Wild franchise history to win the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. The announcement was made as five NHL honors were awarded during a televised show on NBC Sports Network.

Kaprizov, who was a fifth-round pick by the Wild in 2015 but spent six seasons in the KHL, led the Wild and NHL rookies with 51 points this season, including 27 goals, in 55 games. He also led the Wild and league rookies in goals, even-strength goals (19), power-play goals (8) and shots on goal (157) and was tied for first in overtime goals (2). Kaprizov was eighth overall in the NHL in goals.

The 24-year-old became one of four rookies since 1992-93 to lead a team in points during the regular season, while helping them qualify for the playoffs, joining Auston Matthews (2016-17), Filip Forsberg (2014-15) and Trent Hunter (2003-04).

“I’ve enjoyed everything about the game,” Kaprizov said after 2007-08 Calder winner Patrick Kane presented him with the award via video. “I enjoyed the atmosphere in the locker room, I enjoyed playing on the ice with my teammates, I enjoyed the playoff atmosphere in the rinks we played in. The organization was amazing. I really enjoyed everything. From my play on ice to the team game, everything this season kind of came together and it was truly special.”

Kaprizov, who is in the midst of contract negotiations with the Wild, thanked the organization for its support.

“I’d like to say, first off, a big thank you to the team,” he said. “Without them none of this would be possible. From all of my teammates, to all of the coaching staff, to the organization, to the administrative team. Everyone has helped me tremendously both on and off the ice. I’d also like to thank my family, they’ve always helped me out in tough moments and the good moments they’ve supported me. As well as all of my close friends constantly calling me and letting me know everything is going to be all right  and just helping me throughout the season when things were a little bit tough.”

Kaprizov is the third player from a Minnesota NHL team to win the Calder, joining Danny Grant (1968-69) and Bobby Smith (1978-79) of the North Stars.

Carolina goalie Alex Nedeljkovic and Dallas winger Jason Robertson were the other finalists for this season’s award, which is voted on by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.