NY Islanders Inking Maxim Tsyplakov Was Likely a Collaborative Effort Led By Jim Paliafito

Spartak Hockey Club player, Maxim Tsyplakov (No.9) seen in...
Spartak Hockey Club player, Maxim Tsyplakov (No.9) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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When it was announced that the NY Islanders had signed Maxim Tsyplakov, beating out about a dozen other NHL teams, there were very few rumblings that Long Island could be the destination for the 25-year-old who spent last season with Spartak Moskva of the KHL.

With little news about where Tsyplakov planned to sign, that should have been enough to raise some antennas that Lou Lamoriello was hard at work.

"Why didn't I just figure this out two days ago," Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet said on his 32 Thoughts Podcast. "Of course there's a reason no one's saying anything - because he's going to the Islanders and Lou Lamoriello still terrifies people."

While Lamoriello is the brains behind the Islanders roster, there's no doubt that a lot of credit for this signing goes to Jim Paliafito. Paliafito, who joined the Islanders staff in July of 2022, is listed on the team's Business Directory as the Director of European Pro Free Agent and College Free Agent Scouting.

Paliafito began his career in sports in the 80s as an NFL agent, with high-end clients like Lawrence Taylor and Tony Dorsett.

A former GM with the Saginaw Spirit of the OHL, Paliafito was hired by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2015 under Lamoriello as the Director of Player Evaluation. While in Toronto, Paliafito was the brains behind the Leafs signings of Alexander Barabonov, Nikita Zaitsev, and Ilya Mikheyev.

Known for his tenacity in convincing European free agents to leave their homes and come to North America, NHL Agent and CEO of Gold Star Hockey, Dan Millstein often refers to Paliafito as "The Closer."