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NASHVILLE – Kirill Kaprizov and Marat Khusnutdinov talk on the phone and text.

They even play computer games together when Kaprizov has downtime. But they've never met in person.

That should change soon.

Khusnutdinov is in the process of joining the Wild after leaving the KHL in Russia to make his much-anticipated NHL debut, a transition Kaprizov plans to help his countryman with; he was in the same situation three years ago.

"It's all new for him," Kaprizov said. "I know myself when you just come, it's different practice maybe a little bit. A lot of games here, not like in Russia.

"He can learn a lot from the boys, from the team and coach, meet with everybody, and then next year he can come in the camp it should be easy for him. Know everyone and just keep going, just focus on hockey."

During Kaprizov's rookie season in 2021, he wasn't just adapting to a busier schedule after playing six years in the KHL; he was getting used to living in a different country and learning English. What made his arrival even more impressive is that he took the NHL by storm, winning the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie after scoring 51 points in 55 games.

Khusnutdinov has been in the KHL for the past four seasons: The center remained in Russia after the Wild drafted him in the second round — 37th overall — in 2020. He'll face challenges similar to those Kaprizov faced when he arrived here, including the need to improve his English. Khusnutdinov's English is "OK," according to President of Hockey Operations/General Manager Bill Guerin.

"Maybe he'll like [a] teacher," Kaprizov said. "I don't know if he wants. I don't want when I came here. For me, it was easy to learn in locker room with the boys."

As for on the ice, it wouldn't be a stretch for Khusnutdinov to make an early impact on the Wild like Kaprizov did. Like Kaprizov, Khusnutdinov is coming to the Wild already a pro.

"The KHL is a good league," Guerin said. "It's not the NHL, but it's a good league and these guys are good players. They're smart. They're adaptable, and I think the human side of it, the social side of it, is much more difficult. Being away from home, not knowing the language, not having your friends and family around you, those are the most difficult things.

"When you go to the rink, it doesn't matter what language you speak, where you're from. They're all hockey players."

Last season, Khusnutdinov became the youngest player in SKA St. Petersburg history to record 50 career points after he scored 11 goals and added 30 assists.

Then after he was traded from SKA St. Petersburg to HC Sochi last October, the 5-foot-11, 176-pound Moscow native had six goals and 14 assists and was named team captain.

Khusnutdinov is known for having a well-rounded style, being a factor on offense and defense, and he is regarded by Director of Amateur Scouting Judd Brackett as the fastest skater in his draft class.

"Hopefully he's bringing his speed," Guerin said.

Once he's with the team, the Wild will eventually play Khusnutdinov, who signed a two-year, entry-level contract. But first he has to secure a work visa in order to travel to the United States.

Already, the 21-year-old has inquired about a playbook so he can study the team.

"He's definitely a guy that we're gonna take a look at," coach John Hynes said.

And he has a mentor waiting for him.

"He's so excited," Kaprizov said. "When he comes, I can help him if he needs something."