Skip to main content

Make no mistake, the Calder Trophy belongs to Kirill Kaprizov

Jason Robertson is making a push but Kaprizov deserves the award.
Kirill Kaprizov

Words are hard to come by when describing Kirill Kaprizov's rookie season. With highlight-worthy plays laced throughout his rookie campaign, Kaprizov is becoming a household name. To have that impact should make him a lock for the Calder Trophy – the award for the NHL's best rookie – but there appears to be competition.

Jason Robertson is having a tremendous season for the Dallas Stars. Robertson has put up more points per game (0.87) than Kaprizov (0.86) and has recorded 27 points in 26 games since recording a four-assist game vs. Chicago on Mar. 9.

Both rookies have made their case to take home the Calder Trophy but it should be clear that this trophy belongs to Kaprizov.

You'll have to excuse Minnesota fans if they're a little touchy about rookie of the year awards. Last fall, Justin Jefferson broke almost every rookie receiving record in the Super Bowl era and it wasn't good enough to defeat Justin Herbert. 

On the court, Anthony Edwards has been a 19-year-old beast for the Timberwolves but is losing votes to LaMelo Ball, who is currently out with a wrist injury.

Even in this case, there are valid reasons for Robertson taking home the Calder. He's nearly two years younger than Kaprizov and didn't have the benefit of a six-year head start playing professionally in the KHL.

But it's what Kaprizov has done to the Minnesota Wild as a franchise that has set him apart.

Since Marian Gaborik left after the 2008-09 season, the Wild have had some good players but there's a reason why internet trolls refer to this team as "The Mild."

Kaprizov brings the type of superstar the Wild have never had. His ability to score makes him a constant threat, and his passing ability has revived Mats Zuccarello (28 points in 33 games) and made Victor Rask competent.

Kaprizov's skating ability has had opposing coaches scratching their heads and commentators drooling on their headsets. In other words, Kaprizov is the living, breathing hockey god this state hasn't had since Mike Modano.

This is not hyperbole. During the opening months of the season, Kaprizov's play was on par with former North Star greats Modano, Neil Broten and Brian Bellows. Not only has Kaprizov kept that play up, he's getting better down the stretch.

Kaprizov has scored in his past four games and has five goals during the Wild's six-game winning streak. On the season, the Wild own a 25-3-0 record when he records a point and a 5-10-3 record when he doesn't. 

These aren't numbers that should be considered for the Calder Trophy. These should be numbers to be considered for the Hart (MVP) Trophy.

Even if you believe that Kaprizov's previous experience is an advantage, look at the history of the Calder Trophy. In 2015-16, 24-year-old Artemi Panerin won the award. In 2000-01, 25-year-old Evgeni Nbakov won it. 

Minnesota fans have been on the other end of this debate, too. In 1989-90, 31-year-old Sergei Makarov won it over Modano, who was 19. Surely, Modano would have some thoughts about this "unfair" advantage.

Robertson has had a solid rookie season but Kaprizov's impact on the Wild has been much greater. If Kaprizov continues to play like this, the Calder Trophy may not be the only one he'll be lifting at the end of the season.

Next Up

Dean Evason

Tempers flare as Wild hammer Canadiens

Montreal was anything but polite after the Wild picked up an 8-2 victory.

Blaine VFW video screengrab crop N West Twitter

Authorities now looking into MN lawmaker's report of assault

Video shows Rep. Nolan West being grabbed and pushed out of a public event.

TajPharmaImages WIkimedia Commons ivermectin

COVID treatments: Essentia Health to help test 3 existing meds

The clinical trial includes the much-discussed drug ivermectin.

Screen Shot 2022-01-24 at 3.48.57 PM

Suspect crashes into Minneapolis snow plow, fires shots at plow driver

The plow driver was pulled to the side of the road when the incident happened.

cold Minneapolis

Coldest day of the winter is possible this week in Minnesota

An air temp of -30F isn't out of the question too far from the metro.

polley freeborn county jail roster jan 2022 resize

District fires school counselor accused of sexually assaulting student

He's been charged with felony criminal sexual conduct.

Moorhead family

Authorities pinpoint source of CO that killed family of 7

The victims, all members of Hernandez-Pinto family, were found dead in a Moorhead home.

polymet mining

Court issues mixed ruling on PolyMet, orders more analysis on water permit

The court, however, overruled several challenges to the permit.

SPPD Kua person of interest 01-24-2022

Police release images of woman driving stolen Audi that had puppy inside

It's not clear whether she was involved in the vehicle theft.

J R Jones - Anoka County Jail 2021.10.16 - Resize crop

Fatal hit-and-run driver can avoid prison time with plea deal

He was charged with striking and killing a 56-year-old who was walking her dog.

Screen Shot 2022-01-24 at 11.21.49 AM

Alex Rodriguez: 'I'm not a Packers fan'

He was at Lambeau screaming "Cheese!" and "Let's go!" during the playoff game against the 49ers.


Kirill Kaprizov

Wild's Kirill Kaprizov wins NHL's Calder Trophy

Kaprizov is the first player in franchise history to win the award.

Kirill Kaprizov

Kirill Kaprizov's slow start is a thing of the past

A potential sophomore slump has been erased with a three-point night against the Devils..

Dean Evason

Wild want NHL to review play that injured Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov has been ruled out for Saturday's game against Washington.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Kirill Kaprizov finally scores his first goal, beats Sens in OT

Kaprizov's game-winner gave the Wild a much needed victory over Ottawa.

Kirill Kaprizov

Watch: Kirill Kaprizov injured in second period vs. Bruins

Kaprizov was sent into the boards before limping down the tunnel.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild have work to do to build a cup contender around Kirill Kaprizov

Kaprizov is locked in for five years, but can Bill Guerin do enough to turn the Wild into a true contender?

Drew Doughty

Kirill Kaprizov makes Kings’ Doughty eat his words

The Kings defenseman isn't a fan of the Wild star's new deal.

Kirill Kaprizov / Minnesota Wild

Report: Contract talks between Kaprizov and Wild have 'gone cold'

The report states Kaprizov is drawing interest from the KHL.