Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin told reporters that top prospect Kirill Kaprizov was expected in the Twin Cities on Monday. The announcement came after weeks of trying to get Kaprizov his U.S. work visa.
“He will have to be in quarantine for a little while when he gets here,” Guerin said. “He’s going to stick around here for a little while. We will get him acclimated a little bit, just introduce him to Minnesota.”
Stops likely will include the Xcel Energy Center, where Kaprizov will play games, TRIA Rink, where Kaprizov will practice ahead of next season, and possibly tourist attractions to showcase life in the Twin Cities.
“As soon as he’s allowed to move around we can show him the area, then possibly get him set up with a place to live for when he comes back or at least an idea of where he wants to live,” Guerin said. “Hopefully some of the players that we can introduce him to are still around, just kind of let him get a feel of the place.”
Maybe the most-hyped prospect in franchise history, Kaprizov signed his entry-level contract last month. He was ineligible to play in the postseason, per league rules, and thus had to burn the first year of his contract — not ideal, but at least Kaprizov is in Minnesota, five years after he was taken in the second round of the 2015 entry draft.
Guerin wants reasonable expectations for the rookie heading into next season. There’s a good chance Kaprizov isn’t the 40-goal scorer everyone wants him to be — not right away, at least.
“We are all hoping and comes in and lights the world on fire,” the GM said. “This is also a very good league. It’s the best league in the world with the best players in the world, and he hasn’t played here yet. There’s an adjustment period. We don’t want to put the weight of the world on his shoulders.”
There’s also the fact that Kaprizov has only been to North America once before this trip. That initial culture shock could take some time to get used to.
“There could be some growing pains,” Guerin said. “Hopefully it goes smooth and everything goes great. I’m hoping for that. It could take time, as well.”
Mason let go
After expressing his displeasure with the goaltenders this season, Guerin confirmed the Wild have cut ties with longtime goaltending coach Bob Mason, who had been with the organization since 2002.
“He’s a wonderful person,” Guerin said. “He had an incredible run here. I have nothing negative to say about him. Sometimes you just need change and at that position, we needed a change.”
Aside from that, the Wild will retain assistant coaches Bob Woods and Darby Hendrickson, according to Guerin, and will look to add another assistant coach this offseason.