Whether it’s a miraculous move in front, or a logic-defying shift, Wild rookie Kirill Kaprizov seems to do something every night that makes his teammates do a double take.

Well, the 23-year-old Russian got a taste of his own medicine on Friday night when he walked into the Wild locker room.

Much to his surprise, his teammates were wearing shirts with his face plastered on the front and the phrase “Dollar Bill Kirill” underneath it. It’s a nickname Matt Dumba bestowed on Kaprizov earlier this season because he’s money with the puck on his stick.

“The nickname has kind of stuck,” Dumba said with a laugh. “He’s a great kid, so it’s nice to have some fun with him. We are happy to have him. That kind of energy he brings is contagious. It elevates everyone’s game.”

That’s proven to be the case throughout the current six-game winning streak. Not only has Kaprizov been masterful in his own right, he has made everyone around him better. He currently leads the team with 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) in 18 games.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

“He’s an unbelievable player,” said Kevin Fiala, who might soon have to relinquish his title of the most dynamic player on the team. “He does it every night on a consistent basis.”

That said, Kaprizov’s skill with the puck isn’t the only thing that’s impressive about him. He also works extremely hard to get the puck back when it’s not on his stick.

His goal in Friday’s win over the Los Angeles Kings was a perfect example of that, as he outworked star defenseman Drew Doughty along the boards, then collected a rebound before using his strength to convert on a wraparound goal.

Those types of plays are something Kaprizov’s teammates have come to expect at this point.

“Honestly, the first practice I saw him skate, I knew he was something special,” said Nick Bjugstad, who has played a few games alongside Kaprizov this season. “I hadn’t seen him play beforehand, so I couldn’t anticipate how it was going to go. As soon as I saw him in the first practice, I definitely saw a lot there from his compete level.”

Sometimes it’s hard not to marvel at the way Kaprizov uses his edges. There seems to be a few stretches throughout every game where he makes it look like everyone around him just put on skates for the first time in their life.

That’s something Joel Eriksson Ek can appreciate having to go up against the opposing team’s top player night in and night out. Needless to say, Eriksson Ek is thrilled he doesn’t have to worry about defending him.

“He’s hard to read,” Eriksson Ek said. “The way he opens up his hips and makes it so hard to defend. You don’t know which way he’s going. He’s super smart, too. He’s been great for us, and I’m sure he’ll keep going, too.”


Alex Stalock was placed on waivers on Sunday morning as he continues to recover from an upper-body injury. He will find out on Monday morning whether he has been claimed by another team. If nobody claims the 33-year-old goaltender, the Wild will be able to move him freely between the taxi squad and the Iowa Wild of the American Hockey League.