According to NHL Network's Kevin Weekes, contract talks between the Minnesota Wild and Kapril Kaprizov have "gone cold" as they work a new deal for next season.
Per the report, Kaprizov has returned to Russia where his old KHL team, CSKA Moscow, has made an effort to re-sign him. Kaprizov likely wouldn't make as much money returning to Russia but there would be the added benefit of playing for Russia in the Olympics in 2024, which does not include NHL players.
While there are perks to returning to his home country, Kaprizov has become a superstar for the Wild. Kaprizov recorded 51 points in 55 games this season and is the frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, which is given to the NHL's top rookie.
But Kaprizov's contract presents a unique situation. Kaprizov was eligible to jump to the NHL last season but had to sign a two-year entry-level deal instead of the typical three-year deal given to players younger than age 22.
The Wild signed Kaprizov, who was 23 at the time, last July with hopes he would be eligible to play in the NHL's playoff bubble. But the league denied their request and the Wild burned the first year of his contract.
With his contract expiring, the Wild need to sign Kaprizov to an extension as a restricted free agent. While the Wild appear willing to throw down the money for a new contract, The Athletic's Michael Russo reported earlier this week that the length of the deal could be the hold up.
According to Russo's report, the Wild want to sign Kaprizov to an eight-year contract but Kaprizov's camp wants a shorter deal to ensure an out before he becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
A short-term deal would give Kaprizov's camp leverage for Bill Guerin to "build a perennial contender" in Minnesota. With Russo mentioning the desire for Guerin to upgrade the center position this offseason, the KHL's interest could be another way to build leverage.
In all likelihood, the Wild should find a way to sign their young superstar but this news says that process isn't without some bumps in the road.