Going from Russia's top league to the NHL wasn't the most challenging adjustment Kirill Kaprizov faced in his debut season with the Wild.

Grocery shopping and outfitting his Minnesota home were.

"On the ice, things took care of themselves," Kaprizov said in Russian through an interpreter. "I had good teammates, good conversations, loved being in the locker room, loved being on the ice."

The entire hockey world will likely be reminded of just how smooth Kaprizov's transition was on Thursday when the 24-year-old is expected to be named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best rookie.

“I'm not really one to compliment myself. I'll let others do that.”
Kirill Kaprizov

And while that recognition is reflective of his past, Kaprizov is already excited for the future.

"Hopefully we can continue to get better," he said. "I know there's a lot of things I need to work on. Same with my teammates, getting the right pieces in place, developing our game so that we can have better cohesion and better play next season. That's going to be really important in the offseason."

Although Kaprizov's credentials pre-Wild were impressive, they didn't guarantee he'd be just as successful in the NHL.

Kaprizov soared in the KHL, pacing all goal scorers in his each of last two seasons, but what works in one league doesn't always click in another.

And Kaprizov was aware of this uncertainty.

"Maybe I don't perform at all," he said. "Maybe I perform super well. So, just trying to clear my head of what to anticipate just so I can go out and play, just do my job and do it to the best of my abilities and let things take care of themselves."

The answer to the question how Kaprizov would adapt arrived quickly and definitively.

Not only did Kaprizov live up to the hype of being a prized draft pick, selected in the fifth round in 2015 by the Wild, but he immediately became one of the most vital players on the team.

His 27 goals ranked first on the Wild and among NHL rookies, and eighth in the league. Kaprizov also led the Wild and rookies in points (51) while claiming several Wild rookie records including goals, assists, points, goal streak and point streak.

Kirill Kaprizov's 2020-21 statistics

"I'm not really one to compliment myself," Kaprizov said. "I'll let others do that."

Cue the Professional Hockey Writers Association, which votes on the Calder Trophy that Kaprizov has been the favorite for since the beginning of the year. The winner will be announced before the Stanley Cup playoffs conclude.

"Having such a tough season and leaving in the first round of the playoffs, obviously it would make things a little bit better," Kaprizov said of potentially receiving the honor. "But honestly, I'm the type of person that doesn't really look for personal accolades. I'd much rather have the team win and have the team do better than my own personal gains."

Even though he was the Wild's offensive leader, Kaprizov still wants to improve all aspects of his play including his skating and how he thinks through different scenarios.

But before next season, he'll need a new contract.

Kaprizov is coming off his entry-level deal and falls into the unique category of not meeting restricted free agency or unrestricted free agency requirements. He's only allowed to negotiate and sign with the Wild, is ineligible for an offer sheet from another team and doesn't have arbitration rights. The longest the Wild could sign him for is for eight years.

"This summer we're going to have the chance to sit down and think through all the options and what's best for the team and for me, and I'm confident that we will come to a good agreement," said Kaprizov, who plans on being involved in the negotiation. "I like everything. Everything's been good, the team's been good to me, so I am very happy here overall."

Right now, though, he has a reunion on his radar.

"The plans are, first and foremost, to get home, see my family, see my friends, get some rest," Kaprizov said, "and then of course start training and getting ready for next season."