Kirill Kaprizov is having a rookie season to remember for the Minnesota Wild.
After a third-period hat trick on Friday night, Kaprizov leads all rookies with 10 goals and 13 assists over 25 games this season. The start is leading a campaign for Kaprizov to become the first player in Wild history to win the Calder Trophy.
Kaprizov's breakout has been what Wild fans have been dying for. The team hasn't had a top superstar since Marian Gaborik left after the 2007-08 season and even his performance wasn't as good as what Kaprizov is doing this season.
Over the first 25 games of his career, Gaborik had six goals and five assists. His final numbers of 18 goals and 18 assists were good for seventh in Calder Trophy voting during the 2000-01 season, when the Wild was in its infancy and trying to build into a playoff contender.
Mikko Koivu was another top prospect that became the all-time leader in Wild history with 709 points. But Koivu only had five goals and eight assists in his first 25 games and six goals and 15 assists during his rookie season. Koivu and Kaprizov have different styles on the ice, but Koivu's impact on the team was not immediate.
Zach Parise didn't put up big numbers (14 G, 18 A) during his rookie season with the New Jersey Devils in 2005-06. Parise had four goals and four assists in his first 25 games and, like Koivu, Parise did not place in the Calder Trophy voting.
Kaprizov has been producing at a historic level in Wild history but to appreciate what he's doing, it's more interesting to compare him to some of the top rookies in North Stars history.
Mike Modano is the gold standard for hockey phenoms in the state. During his rookie season in 1989-90, Modano had 14 goals and 11 assists in his first 25 games. He would finish second in Calder Trophy voting after scoring 29 goals with 46 assists.
Neal Broten was the North Stars' all-time leader in points and scored 11 goals and added 15 assists during the first 25 games of his career. The Roseau native went on to have 38 goals and 60 assists and finish fourth in Calder Trophy voting in the 1981-82 season.
Brian Bellows led the North Stars in goals and got off to a similar start with nine goals and 11 assists over his first 25 games. Bellows finished with 35 goals and 30 assists to finish fourth in Calder Trophy voting for the 1982-83 season.
If the Wild were operating under a normal 82-game season, Kaprizov would be on pace to match those numbers with 33 goals and 42 assists.
It's been like rain in the desert for Wild fans who have been tormented by Patrick Kane, Vladamir Tarasenko and other young stars over the past decade. If Kaprizov can keep playing at this level, the Wild will finally have their own superstar to put the fear of hockey gods in their opponents.