StaTuesday: Kaprizov flying up the Wild rookie ranks
A fifth-round pick by Minnesota in 2015, Wild fans had to wait five seasons for forward Kirill Kaprizov to arrive.
Seven weeks into his NHL career, it’s safe to say he was worth the wait.
In 19 games, Kaprizov has tallied six goals — five in full strength and one on the power play — and 11 assists, adding up to 17 points. The latter leads all rookies in 2020-21.
Only four other rookie skaters have logged double-digit points this season – Ottawa’s Tim Stutzle (14), Chicago’s Pius Suter (12), New Jersey’s Ty Smith (11) and Vancouver’s Nils Hoglander (10). More impressively, all but one player on that list (Smith, 17 GP) have played more games than Kaprizov.
Kaprizov also tops the rookie charts in points per contest (0.89), leading all first-year skaters by a wide margin. Stutzle (0.67), Smith (0.65) and Suter (0.52) are the only other three rookies registering at least a half-point per game.
Suter leads all rookies with seven goals, followed closely by Kaprizov (6), Stutzle (5) and Chicago forward Philipp Kurashev (5).
The clear early frontrunner for the Calder Trophy, Kaprizov is on his way to putting together the most impressive rookie season in Wild history. Over the first 19 games of a player’s career, only five Wild rookies tallied 10+ points — Kaprizov (17 points), Aaron Voros (11), Maxim Shushinsky (10), Marian Gaborik (10) and Mikko Koivu (10). Shushinksy lit the lamp for seven of his 10 points, the most of the bunch.
However, Kaprizov was the fifth Wild rookie to tally a scoring streak of 5+ games, joining Gaborik (7 games), Ryan Donato (5), Nick Johnson (5) and Pascal Dupuis (5).Kaprizov didn’t find the score sheet Monday when the Wild lost in overtime to the Vegas Golden Knights, halting his five-game scoring streak.
Of course, Kaprizov will be chasing the tail of Gaborik, who owns the Wild rookie record with 36 points (18 goals, 18 assists) in 2000-01. If Kaprizov can keep his 0.89 points per game average going, he’ll surpass Gaborik in about 17 games.
That means the Wild could have a new all-time leading rookie scorer by early April.
Hey, he’s called “Kirill the Thrill” for a reason.