Kaprizov raring to go with 'stressful' negotiations behind him
"Obviously, it was stressful," Kaprizov said through a translator, according to The Athletic's Michael Russo. "The whole process was hard. Coming out of last season, I thought things would get done a little bit quicker. But these things take time. I completely understand.
"I'm really happy that I'm here now and I can just focus on hockey. Obviously extremely happy to be a part of the Minnesota Wild."
Kaprizov put pen to paper on a five-year, $45-million deal Tuesday following a summer full of obstacles, including a threat that the 24-year-old would sign with CSKA Moscow of the KHL.
When asked about the validity of that threat during his press conference with general manager Bill Guerin, the 2021 Calder Trophy winner said there was "no chance" he would have played in Russia this season.
Getting Kaprizov to stay in Minnesota was the most vital part of the Wild’s offseason. He stunned the league with 51 points in 55 games and he apparently isn't worried about a sophomore slump.
"There's not pressure, because now it's easy for me when I signed," Kaprizov said in English. "Now I just want to play. You know, it's like, 'Whew.' It's hockey."
Before signing his new deal, Kaprizov secretly flew to Florida so he could quarantine and receive an NHL-approved COVID-19 vaccination in hopes that he wouldn't have to miss any time in training camp.
On-ice sessions begin Thursday and Kaprizov is currently skating on his own. He needs one more negative test to join the team Friday, per Russo.