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There’s no book on Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov

Though everyone has come to expect the fancy goals from Kaprizov, he’s just as willing to score the greasy ones

Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov celebrates his goal Oct. 15, 2022, against the Los Angeles Kings at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Minnesota Wild left wing Kirill Kaprizov celebrates his goal Oct. 15, 2022, against the Los Angeles Kings at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Brace Hemmelgarn / USA Today Sports

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Both goals from Minnesota Wild star Kirill Kaprizov were similar in nature and equally spectacular.

The first came in last Thursday’s victory over the Senators in Ottawa. With defenseman Erik Brannstrom draped all over him, and frankly taking a penalty that went uncalled, Kaprizov managed to finagle his stick into the proper position to perfectly redirect a shot from the point.

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The second came in Tuesday’s win over the Montreal Canadiens at Xcel Energy Center. With defenseman Kaiden Guhle on his back this time, Kaprizov stood his ground near the crease, then angled his blade with incredible finesse to ramp a puck top shelf.

Asked about both of those goals, coach Dean Evason, who rarely singles out specific players, couldn’t help but take the bait.

“That’s what makes him special, right?” Evason said. “He just doesn’t score one way.”

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Though everyone has come to expect the fancy goals from Kaprizov, and he’s certainly delivered a few times this season, he’s just as willing to score the greasy ones.

“If we look at his goals, a lot of them are scored right around the paint,” Evason said. “If a guy is willing to do that, with the skill set that he has, they score goals like he has.”

Kirill Kaprizov
Kirill Kaprizov
Brad Rempel / USA Today Sports

Is it really as simple as that? Not exactly.

“He’s elite,” said center Freddy Gaudreau, who has played alongside Kaprizov as of late. “You don’t see that very often. He’s got a mix of everything. He’s very strong and he also has all the skill, the vision, the confidence, and the skating. It’s a mix of so many impressive things together.”

That has helped Kaprizov establish himself among the best goal scorers in the NHL since coming over from his native Russia. He scored 27 goals as a rookie, taking the league by storm in the process, then followed it up with a Wild franchise record 47 goals last season.

As impressive as the start of his career has been, Kaprizov is well on his way to setting a new career high this season with 8 goals in 10 games. That total is tied for third in the league behind only Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid (11) and San Jose Sharks defenseman Erik Karlsson (9).

“I’m happy to have him and not have to worry about him too much,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “He’s very deceiving. He can shoot from back here, up there, one-timers, wristers, backhand. He’s got it all, right? There’s not like a book on him.”

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