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The Canadian met Maxim Tsyplakov (31 goals this season in the KHL), according to Elliotte Friedman
Credit: Photo by Maksim Konstantinov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Do you know Maxim Tsyplakov?

We’re talking about a player who’s been playing in the KHL since 2017 and is capable of threading the needle. This season in Moscow, Tsyplakov scored no less than 31 goals in 65 games.

He’s been followed for a while now, and the Maple Leafs’ name comes up a lot in the case of a free agent who’s about to make the jump to the NHL. In fact, when you look at the file, Toronto is the name that comes up most often.

Elliotte Friedman, on the most recent episode of his podcast, confirmed the Maple Leafs’ interest, while adding that other teams were also after him.

And the only other team Friedman named this morning (saying she’d met the player) was the Habs. You know that team that needs reinforcements up front?

Obviously, there’s no guarantee that the forward will sign with the Habs. But since Geoff Molson’s team is among those interested, it’s one to keep an eye on.

In the same vein, if I mention that the Habs want to get their hands on a 6’2, 25-year-old who scored 31 goals last year in the KHL, you’d think it’d be an interesting project. No?

(Credit: Hockey DB)

Of course, it’s worth noting that from 2017 to 2023, he wasn’t a big scorer. His best season was 10 goals, and in all, he had a total of 32 goals in six seasons in Moscow.

Has he exploded for good this year? Who knows?

You’d think clubs would believe in him if he’s been under scrutiny for months, but you’d also think they’d be cautious about signing him, all of a sudden that 2023-2024 was just an exception or that he’s not adapting well to the NHL.

His plan really does seem to be to come to the NHL, as he reportedly turned down a qualifying offer in Russia. And if Friedman says he could sign this week, we’ll believe him. He knows what he’s talking about.

The Sportsnet tipster mentions that clubs (we imagine the Maple Leafs, Canadiens and other teams are among them) have been watching him, going to see him and getting Zoom sessions.

Will Kent Hughes be able to sign him? And if so, is he a player who can fit into Martin St-Louis’ top-6 as early as October? Watch this space.

In a gust

– Ouch.

– The Rangers see the Alexis Lafrenière they drafted. [98.5 Sports]

– The dream is allowed, but…

– Nick Suzuki enjoys his off-season.

– Absolument.

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