The most encouraging story line for Minnesota's two biggest winter sports teams — the Wild and Timberwolves — is a concurrent one: the development of young players on both teams that have the potential to be transcendent stars for years to come.
With the emergence of the Wild's Kirill Kaprizov and the Wolves' Anthony Edwards, too, comes a rare opportunity: for one market to perhaps have the Rookie of the Year in both the NBA and NHL.
Our own Kent Youngblood wondered on Twitter just how rare that is, which sparked a dive into history and led me to talk about this subject more on Monday's Daily Delivery podcast.
Turns out one market hasn't had the top rookie in both the NBA and NHL in the same year since the 1979-80 season when Boston had a couple of pretty good first-year players: Larry Bird for the Celtics and Ray Bourque for the Bruins. Both of those players, of course, went on to have Hall of Fame careers.
Obviously nobody should try to see that far into the future with Edwards or Kaprizov — but that's not the point here.
Both certainly have obstacles to overcome if each is going to win his respective award. Edwards was a long shot earlier this season when LaMelo Ball seemed to be running away with Rookie of the Year honors. But an injury to Ball has kept him out of the last 19 games.
Edwards, meanwhile, has averaged 23.3 points, five rebounds, three assists and 1.6 in 25 games since the All-Star break, forcing his way into the discussion. Ball's impending return could shift the talk back to him, and betting odds suggest he is still the favorite. But Edwards has at least moved to the top spot in the minds of some.
Kaprizov leads NHL rookies in goals (22) and points (41), but some voters might consider his professional experience in Russia to be a mark against him compared to younger and less-seasoned rookies. But Kaprizov, whose 24th birthday is today, has the benefit of his dynamic play and the way he has helped transform the Wild into a contender.
Will the Twin Cities have two Rookies of the Year? I think they both deserve it. But even one or both fall short, they are a big reason that the future for both organizations is more promising now than when the winter started.