An analyst calls Kaprizov's KHL deal "one of the worst bluffs ever"

Published August 10, 2021 at 9:15

Kirill Kaprizov appears to be playing hardball with the Minnesota Wild. The 24-year-old, who won the Calder trophy last season as the league's top rookie, has a tentative one-year deal in place with CSKA Moscow of the KHL as negotiations continue with Minnesota on a new contract. One analyst isn't buying it.

"One of the worst bluffs in sports history!," said Andy Strickland, who's been covering hockey for quite some time and is one half of the popular Cam and Strick Podcast. "CSKA budget has been spent plus there's a cap that comes in around $12 million US."

"Have fun in the KHL," he continued. "Why should a NHL GM be expected to succumb to this type of threat?"

There are a couple of issues with Strickland's statement. Yes, the KHL says it has a cap. It's rarely followed, especially for a team as powerful as CSKA Moscow. It's also worth noting that bonus money is not included in the KHL's salary cap. Secondly, I really believe Kaprizov has no issue returning home to play if he doesn't get what he wants from Minnesota. He does not want to sign a long-term deal as he believes he can walk into a better payday once the NHL's salary cap starts to go up again. The Wild have been offering him term in the seven year range. It would mean little to Kaprizov to return home to Russia to play for a couple of seasons and come back to the NHL as an unrestricted free agent with several teams bidding for his services. Kaprizov wouldn't just be A star in the KHL, he'd be THE star. Ultimately, Kaprizov's contract in the KHL is definitely a negotiating tactic, but I'm not sure it's an all-out bluff.

The news of Kaprizov's tentative deal in the KHL was broken Monday night by Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff. He stated the contract would pay Kaprizov "8 figures", which would easily make him one of the highest paid players, if not the highest paid player, in the league.

August 10   |   172 answers
An analyst calls Kaprizov's KHL deal "one of the worst bluffs ever"

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