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Scouting Profile: Canadiens Interested In Standout KHL Forward

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Montreal canadiens target Maxim Tsyplakov

According to Elliotte Friedman, the Montreal Canadiens are among the many teams who have considered offering KHL forward Maxim Tsyplakov an NHL contract.

Who Is Maxim Tsyplakov?

It’s always a little more complicated to get a read on players who are plying their trade overseas, but from a raw statistical standpoint, we do know that Tsyplakov finished the 2023-24 season with 31 goals and 16 assists in 65 games with Spartak Moscow.

His 47 points were good enough for 22nd overall in league scoring, though it’s worth noting there’s been a clear exodus in talent in the KHL in recent seasons, which does cast some doubts as to his overall offensive prowess.

That being said, only three players scored more goals than Tsyplakov this season: Reid Boucher, Nikolai Goldobin, and Kirill Pilipenko. To put his production into further context, former Montreal Canadiens fourth-liner Jordan Weal finished the season with 30 goals, just one behind Tsyplakov.

Of course, the goal here isn’t necessarily to disregard his production, but we do have to acknowledge that several of the players who scored roughly as many or more goals than Tsyplakov last season failed to make their mark in the NHL.

To his credit, at 25 years old, Tsyplakov is in the midst of his prime seasons, which suggests he could improve upon his career-best season.

On the flip side, he scored on over 18 percent of his shots, which is well above his career average. Heading into the season, Tsyplakov had maintained a nine percent shooting efficiency.

Again, prime years lead to interesting numbers, but a player suddenly doubling his shooting efficiency tends to be a significant red flag in hockey.

For the record, Tsyplakov scored two goals in 11 playoff games this season, scoring on a little more than eight percent of his shots. He did improve his overall shot production this season, nearing almost two shots per game, which does indicate the uptick in scoring wasn’t entirely tied into luck.

At 6’3″ and 190 lbs, he has a sturdy frame which allows him to delve into physical battles, most of which lead to him emerging as the stronger player.

Montreal Canadiens Brass Tacks

Tsyplakov projects as the exact type of player that garners interest from Kent Hughes and Co.

He’s big, he knows how to score, and he’s young enough that he could fit within the age groups involved in the team’s long-term rebuild plans. He has a nose for the net and a penchant for heading to the dirty areas on the ice.

But for those very reasons, Maxim Tsyplakov has also attracted the attention of almost half the teams in the NHL, including the Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Canadiens have a slight edge when it comes to attracting potential forwards, as they can offer a player like Tsyplakov an opportunity to immediately play in the top six, whereas ice time would be tougher to come by on a team like the Bruins or the Leafs.

More to the point, the Habs need to improve their options on their wing, and the right-winger certainly fits the bill.

They also have the financial manoeuvrability to offer Tsyplakov a healthy contract extension once his one-year entry-level contract expires.

There are significant red flags when evaluating his breakout season, but when we consider the Canadiens would not have to spend any draft capital to add him to the lineup, the potential rewards do seem to outweigh the risk that his production in 2023-24 was an outlier.

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Peter

Is he better than Gurianov?

Habbotsford

Different type of player , he likes the body contact it seems .

Tyrone

Based on those red flags (like career best shooting percentage), I don’t think he’s a good fit. I’d like to wait until after the draft to see where we are with the need for scorers. If we draft and also trade for a scoring winger, then there’s no need to sign this guy. If we don’t leave the draft with scoring solutions in place, then perhaps a 1yr “prove it” deal would be an option, but my guess is he’ll sign wherever he gets the most money overall, and hopefully that’s not from us. I’d rather see the opportunity go to guys we already have like Roy, Heinemen and Ylönen instead anyway.

Jim G

As long as they don’t overpay by too much no reason to not take a flyer on this guy if they can. More competition at camp the better and I think we can see there is some momentum from within and without the org to get more competitive next season. Seems like a no brainer to me

Greg

A 1 year entry level contract would doubtlessly be the preferred deal by the team, I guess it would depend on the player. I’m thinking he likely makes more $ now where he is, and even 1 year at a rookie max salary might be less. Also, with so many other teams pursuing him, and being he only just outscored Jordan Weal, might be best to pass on this opportunity.

Robin

This year in the KHL, Jordon Weal who played 2 seasons for the Canadiens had 30 goals and 47 assists for 77 points, which is much more than Tsyplakov’s 47 points. Since Jordon was a low scoring forward on the Canadiens, I would be hesitant about Tsyplakov.