Minnesota Wild fans have waited nearly five years for the debut of Kirill Kaprizov and as his contract with the KHL expired this season, many are excited to see him hit the ice in October.
However, there's a slight chance that Wild fans might not have to wait that long.
According to Michael Russo of The Athletic, Kaprizov wants to debut immediately after signing his entry-level contract. This means that should the NHL finds a way to resume its regular season, Kaprizov would make his debut this summer to help a Wild playoff push and/or run.
Before Wild fans can start dreaming about Kaprizov leading the Wild to a late-season surge, there are a couple of obstacles to overcome.
First, the NHL is not allowing teams to sign players to contracts that start this season. With Kaprizov still technically part of the KHL (although he turned down an extension recently), the Wild still need to sign him to an entry-level contract.
Russo suggests that the Wild could work around this by signing him to two deals. One that would start this season (and burn the first year of a presumed two-year contract) and one that would start in the 2020-21 season.
Then there's the hurdle of getting the NHL back up and running. NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told ESPN on Friday that the league is hearing from several cities to host the playoffs in a series of empty-arena games.
The report mentions some of the potential cities include Grand Forks, N.D., Manchester, N.H., and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. At that point, it depends on how the NHL is wanting to move forward.
If the league sticks with a traditional playoff format with the cancelation of the regular season, the Wild would be one point out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, making Kaprizov's desire for an immediate debut a moot point.
Either way, when Kaprizov debuts, it's sure to make an impact for the Wild. It just remains to be seen if that will be this summer, or at the beginning of next season.