Kirill Kaprizov has scored highlight-reel goals in games and is even impressive at practice, like when he pulled out a lacrosse-style finish during the Wild's skate at Target Field ahead of the Winter Classic.
So, will he try a fancy move at the All-Star Game?
"I don't have cool skill," he said in English before laughing. "I don't know. Maybe."
With the NHL's All-Star festivities not until Feb. 4-5 in Las Vegas, Kaprizov has time to brainstorm a plan.
He and goalie Cam Talbot were picked for the Central Division roster, each player's first invite.
"I'm looking forward to it," Kaprizov said in Russian through a translator.
In the meantime, Kaprizov can get back to dazzling with the Wild, as the winger returned to action Friday against the Ducks at Xcel Energy Center after a brief absence because of an upper-body injury.
Kaprizov was hurt Jan. 6 at Boston, leaving the game after getting boarded by the Bruins' Trent Frederic.
"At first, the hit wasn't very pleasant," Kaprizov said. "I obviously got a little bit nervous, especially the first couple days. But after that, it got a lot better very quick. So I understood that this was going to be OK. I'm going to be fine."
Frederic was assessed a minor penalty for boarding but received no supplemental discipline from the league. Asked if he thought the hit was dirty, Kaprizov said, "To be honest, I really don't care. I was just playing hockey and doing my job."
Not only did the injury prevent him from playing last Saturday vs. Washington, the first time in his NHL career Kaprizov has been ruled out of a game because he was hurt, but Kaprizov also didn't get the chance to match up against superstar and fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin that night.
"You always want to go out there and play against Alex," Kaprizov said. "He's one of the greats, but I also know [Dmitry] Orlov very well from our time. He's from Novokuznetsk, as well, and then [Ilya] Samsonov, who we played together growing up in World Juniors and other leagues as well. So, yeah, it was definitely tough to miss."
The Wild and Capitals are scheduled to play once more in the regular season, April 3 at Washington, but Kaprizov and Ovechkin also have an opportunity to reunite at the All-Star Game since Ovechkin was voted captain of his division.
"It's a lot of fun for all the players that get to participate," Kaprizov said. "It's a good time. We get to hang out and get to know all the other players. For me personally, it's my first time here in the NHL and so it's a great honor."
In the running
Ryan Hartman is a possibility to join Kaprizov and Talbot at the NHL All-Star Game.
He's the team's candidate in a fan vote to add one more player to each division roster.
"If it happens, it happens," Hartman said. "It's a great honor. My family is excited. My teammates and friends are pretty pumped for me. But I'm not really thinking about it too much."
Talbot, who hasn't played since suffering a lower-body injury at the Winter Classic, felt humbled by his selection.
"It's an honor, but it's a testament to the team as well," Talbot said. "Anytime anyone's nominated to an All-Star Game, it's a collective effort I believe and obviously I couldn't do it without the guys in front of me."
Talbot has been skating for five days and said he's aiming to return next week.
Captain Jared Spurgeon, who's also dealing with a lower-body injury, participated in the team's morning skate on Friday. Coach Dean Evason said it's unlikely either will play Monday at Colorado. After that, the Wild's next games are a weekend back-to-back vs. Chicago.
"It'd be nice to see them in practices this week, and then we can make a choice for the weekend," Evason said.
Nick Bjugstad and Jonas Brodin, who are sidelined because of upper-body injuries, remain out. Joel Eriksson Ek and Alex Goligoski are on the COVID list.