MONTREAL — Minnesota Wild general manager Bill Guerin said he is still gathering information about a Russian media report that star Kirill Kaprizov is wanted by police in a case involving fraudulent military IDs.
“With Kirill, I’ve talked to his agent. We’re just trying to find out as much information as we can. We really don’t … I don’t even know how credible the [report] was,” Guerin said after the NHL general managers meeting on Wednesday.
According to Sport-Express, Kaprizov was wanted for allegedly purchasing a fake military ID from a former military officer in Ufa. The officer was arrested. Kaprizov played one season with Ufa Salavat Yulayev of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2016-17.
“It’s the first time I heard it,” Guerin said. “Like I said, all I’m trying to do is get information and not jump the gun or push the panic button on anything.”
Last week, Philadelphia Flyers goaltending prospect Ivan Fedotov was picked up by law enforcement in Russia on suspicion of evading military service. Fedotov’s agent told the Associated Press that Fedotov had been relocated to a remote military base in northern Russia.
A message to Kaprizov’s agent, Paul Theofanous, was not returned.
Guerin said that contrary to the Sport-Express report, Kaprizov remains in Russia.
“And he’s doing fine,” Guerin said. “He’s with his friends and with his family.”
Guerin added that he wasn’t worried when Kaprizov left for Russia after the season.
“You know what, there’s always just a bit of mystery. But not overly concerned,” he said.
Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said he hasn’t spoken to Guerin about the Kaprizov matter. He didn’t offer much clarity on Fedotov’s detainment.
“I think it’s best that I limit my public comments on the matter,” Fletcher said. “It’s obviously a sensitive situation, and we’re doing our best to stay abreast of developments, and that’s probably the best way to leave it.”
Both Fedotov and Kaprizov played for CSKA Moscow, a team with ties to the Russian military. So did New York Islanders goalie Ilya Sorokin, sparking worry that he might have trouble returning to the NHL next season.
Islanders general manager Lou Lamoriello said on Wednesday that he’s “not concerned about any of our players” being unable to return to the US
The relationship between the NHL and Russia has been strained since the invasion of Ukraine. The league severed financial ties with Russian media companies and a Russia-based sportsbook. As there’s no transfer agreement with the KHL, there has been speculation that teams could avoid Russian prospects in the NHL draft, scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Montreal.
Said Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas: “Heading into the draft, obviously the Russian players are all eligible, and it’s been a little bit more difficult to gather the same information on them as others because of the restrictions in place, as the situation unfolds there in Ukraine.”