Wild prospect Kaprizov scores must-see goal in KHL playoffs
Rather than focus exclusively on the Minnesota Wild’s top prospects, we’re taking a look at the best players from across the State of Hockey every week.
From high school to the pros, check out our recap of all the week’s events in Minnesota hockey, as we check in with college players, prep standouts and State of Hockey alums.
Let’s take a look at this week’s three-star selection, along with other notes, in the latest edition of the State of Hockey Tracker.
Kirill Kaprizov, F, CSKA Moscow (KHL)
First, the usual: Kaprizov signed a three-year contract with his KHL outfit last season, and appears unlikely to leave Russia and join the Wild before 2020. But if he ever does, look out.
— Alex Nunn (@aj_ranger) March 22, 2018
Kaprizov scored this beauty during a matchup with Finnish club Jokerit in the KHL playoffs Thursday, tying the game after throwing a backhand on goal from his knees. That game took five overtime periods to settle, and goes into the books as the longest game in KHL history. Kaprizov tied for the team lead in scoring during the regular season with 40 points in 46 games, and led CSKA with 25 assists.
Jordan Greenway, F, Boston University (Hockey East)
The Terriers are headed to the NCAA tournament after a wild run through the Hockey East tournament. Needing the conference’s autobid to advance, the Terriers rattled off four straight wins and will now face No. 1 seed Cornell in the first round Friday. Greenway, a Wild prospect, had points in all four games. He had two goals and an assist in BU’s two-game quarterfinal sweep of UConn, then had two assists in a semifinal win over Boston College. He assisted on the game-winning goal in the title game against Providence, digging the puck out of the corner and flipping it out front for Drew Melanson to get the Terriers on the board early in the third period. A junior, Greenway could be in a Wild uniform as early as next week depending on how far BU goes in the NCAA tournament.
Kyle Rau, F, Iowa Wild (AHL)
Rau is off to a solid start in his first season with the organization. Rau stretched his point streak to five games in a 5-2 loss to Rockford last weekend, and now ranks third on Minnesota’s AHL affiliate in scoring with 36 points in 64 games, a few points behind former Gophers teammate Justin Kloos. A native of Eden Prairie, Rau was originally drafted by the Florida Panthers, but signed with the Wild as a free agent in 2017 after reaching restricted free agency.
AROUND THE RINK
— Wild prospect Dmitry Sokolov finished the OHL’s regular season with 50 goals, tied with linemate Aaron Luchuk for the league lead. The 19-year-old was named the OHL’s Player of the Month for March after posting 20 points in just eight games. Sokolov had 58 points in 29 games after the Sudbury Wolves traded him to the high-flying Barrie Colts midseason. Sokolov was a seventh-round pick in 2016.
— Wild prospect Braydyn Chizen scored in the Kelowna Rockets’ 6-3 win over Prince George last week. The Rockets won the WHL’s B.C. division, and will face the Tri-City Americans in the first round of the playoffs. The 6-foot-9 defenseman was a seventh-round pick in 2016.
— St. Cloud State forward Ryan Poehling’s between-the-legs goal in a win over North Dakota earlier this month was named the NCHC’s Play of the Year. It’s definitely worth watching. Repeatedly.
— With his senior season behind him, Wild prospect Louie Belpedio is officially a pro. He signed an amateur tryout contract with the Iowa Wild last week, and made his AHL debut Saturday in a 2-1 win over Grand Rapids.
— Defenseman Ryan Lindgren is going pro after just two seasons with the Gophers. He signed with the New York Rangers on Thursday. Lindgren had two goals and seven assists in 35 games for Minnesota as a sophomore. In recent years, several top prospects have taken advantage of an NHL rule that allows college players to hit free agency four years after being drafted, giving teams plenty of incentive to sign their NCAA prospects early. No word yet on the status of freshman Casey Mittelstadt, who was drafted eighth overall last year by the Buffalo Sabres.