NY Islanders Sign Maxim Tsyplakov Out of KHL

Spartak Hockey Club player, Maxim Tsyplakov (9) seen in...
Spartak Hockey Club player, Maxim Tsyplakov (9) seen in... / SOPA Images/GettyImages
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The NY Islanders announced today that they've signed Russian forward Maxim Tsyplakov to a one-year, entry-level contract.

Tsyplakov is a 6'3", 190 lbs right wing who spent the last six seasons playing with Spartak Moskva of the KHL. He'll be 26 at the start of the 2024-25 season.

Tsyplakov had a breakout season with Spartak, scoring 31 goals - good enough for fourth most in the KHL. He's much more proficient at putting the puck in the back of the net than distributing it, finishing with only 16 assists on the season.

One of the most coveted free agents available, whether international or through the NCAA, it's rumored that at least 12 teams were interested in Tsyplakov's services. Rumors were swirling around social media this morning that he'd sign with the Montreal Canadiens as early as today. Instead, Lou Lamoriello made his second international signing of the off-season, agreeing to terms with goaltender Marcus Hogberg earlier this week.

Tsyplakov's best assets are his shot and physicality. What can be described as a power forward, he does a lot of damage from in close but is capable of beating a goaltender from distance.

What's holding Tsyplakov back the most is his skating, as Corey Pronman of The Athletic says "He has a heavy stride that lacks NHL footspeed."

Even though Tsyplakov may not have the speed the Islanders are looking for in off-season acquisitions, he certainly has the size. It's highly unlikely that Tsyplakov will put up similar goal-scoring numbers in the NHL to playing in Russia, but his game should transition well into a middle-6 role.

Regardless of what Tsyplakov turns out to be in the NHL, it's a low-risk, high-reward signing for Lamoriello and the Islanders. Hopefully, he'll be a better addition than Jan Kovar or Nikita Soshnikov were when they joined the Islanders.