Montreal Canadiens Targeting Talented KHL Forward

Maxim Tsyplakov is trying to decide whether to sign with an NHL team for the 2024-25 season.
Montreal Canadiens Introduce Kent Hughes
Montreal Canadiens Introduce Kent Hughes / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

It's no secret that the Montreal Canadiens are interested in acquiring talent for their top-six forward group. These players don't grow on trees, so they must find a trade partner to get a deal done. They will get a player through the draft or free agency if the perfect player isn't available. The Canadiens are already in a great position to get a talented player with the No.5 overall pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. They had the same draft position in 2023, but instead of drafting a forward, they went with David Reinbacher.

Former NHL coach Bob Hartley contributes weekly to BPM Sports. On their recent podcast, Hartley wondered whether Maxim Tsyplakov could be an option for the Montreal Canadiens. It seems like there is mutual interest between both parties.

""It wouldn't surprise me if the Canadiens acquire him. He's a good skater with a solid build. Very strong on the puck. He's had by far his best offensive season. He has the size and style to play in North America. I see him as a good third-line player. Strong defensively, he's taken advantage of more offensive freedom this year. He's a Russian player who plays the North American style.""

Bob Hartley

Bob Hartley has many connections in hockey, from the NHL to the KHL. If he reports that Tsyplakov is an option for the Canadiens, you must believe there's some truth.

Is Maxim Tsyplakov worth it?

Maxim Tsyplakov is a Russian professional hockey player for HC Spartak Moscow in the KHL. He is Victor Tsyplakov's grandson. Victor is an inductee into the Russian and Soviet Hockey Hall of Fame. Tsyplakov wasn't drafted into the NHL and has been part of Spartak Moscow since 2017.

Tsyplakov has never been an elite offensive performer. His previous career high in points was 25, set in 2022-23. However, Tsyplakov exploded in 2023-24, tallying 31 goals and 16 assists in 65 games.

There's always a risk involved when signing players from the KHL. There's no guarantee they will come to North America and adjust well enough to get comfortable playing. There's also the added worry of Tsyplakov being a late bloomer, as this past statistical season could be an outlier.

Tsyplakov has never expressed interest in coming to North America before, as he spent his entire hockey career in Russia. There are some questions about why his name is circulating with potential suitors in the NHL.

Does Tsyplakov believe in his abilities and want to come and prove himself in the NHL? Or, does he and his agent realize that now would be a good time to cash in on his year in the KHL and steal a big NHL contract?

There are plenty of potential suitors for Tsyplakov's services. The most noteworthy teams from a Canadiens perspective are the Maple Leafs and Bruins. Would their most hated rival's interest in the player make the Habs even more likely to take a run at signing him?