Boston Bruins: Alexander Khokhlachev Losing Patience


Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins top prospect might not be a Bruin following the 2015-16 season. Alexander Khokhlachev has made it clear that he’s growing increasingly impatient being stifled in Providence rather than being given a shot with the big club. 

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  • Drafted in the second round of the 2011 NHL draft, Khokhlachev has been one of Boston’s better forwards in Providence over the last two seasons. Having scored 21 goals and 57 points in 65 games in 2013-14, and 15 goals and 43 points in 61 games last season, Khokhlachev has shown that he has what it takes to provide offense, one of Boston’s major concerns last season. “This is my last year of contract. I’m 22 already. If they don’t give me the chance to play, why am I here? I will not play in Providence all my life,” Khokhlachev said following a game at the Bruins training camp. “They told me just wait for your chance and I’m still waiting for that.” Khokhlachev also went on to justify why he believes he’s earned the opportunity to prove his value at the NHL level, “I played in Providence (for) two years and was the leading scorer for two years. I think I played good, and I’m not a young guy anymore, 22. I think I’m ready for the chance.”

    Alexander Khokhlachev has been waiting for his chance for a few seasons, and received a total of three games with Boston during the 2014-15 season (and one in the 2013-14 season). Although he did receive some playing time due to injuries and a constant set of line-shuffling that persisted for the majority of the season, Khokhlachev doesn’t believe the chance was good enough. “Well, I played two games and the third game I played two minutes. I don’t think that’s really a chance,” Khokhlachev said. “I played fourth line — it doesn’t matter what line I play — but I don’t know if that’s really a chance if you play two games.” It’s clear that that Khokhlachev will not be a 4th liner in the NHL if he pans out, but the issue really stems from Boston’s depth at the center position.

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    Two locks at center for Boston over the last few years have been Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. Adding in players like Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg, and now Ryan Spooner, it’s clearly the most difficult position to win a job in while playing on the Bruins, with the exception of goaltender in which Tuukka Rask seems pretty firmly entrenched for the foreseeable future. Ryan Spooner experienced the same issues as Khokhlachev for years, being drafted in the second round of the 2010 NHL draft, just one year before Khokhlachev.

    Spooner was subject to Claude Julien‘s ridicule for years as his offensive game was phenomenal, while his defensive game lacked the requirements needed to break the roster. With a David Krejci injury finally making room for Spooner to shine, the young center finally broke onto the roster with a very impressive 2014-15 season. Khokhlachev might have to wait for an injury to make the team on a full-time basis, as there really doesn’t seem to be any role available for him to grab, unless he pushes Chris Kelly to a wing and beats out one of Max Talbot or Zac Rinaldo for a spot on the 4th line. One option for Khokhlachev could come at the wing position if an injury occurs to any of the Bruins top-nine wingers throughout the course of the season.

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    The Boston Bruins won’t want to lose Khokhlachev after this season if he can’t break the roster, and it would appear Khokhlachev doesn’t want to leave the team either. “I’m just focused on making (Boston’s roster). That’s my team, they drafted me,” Khokhlachev said. “I think they believe in me and want me to play, so I’m just focusing on that. I believe they will give me a chance and everything will be good.” Bruins fans have been calling for Khokhlachev to make Boston’s roster for quite a while now, most notably last season when he was coming off of a very successful AHL campaign. Boston will have to make a decision soon on whether or not Khokhlachev will make the roster, and if he doesn’t steal a job, he might be the next skilled player to be traded before he ever has a chance to break out in Boston.

    Follow Brandon Share-Cohen on Twitter @FansidedBrandon to discuss all things Bruins and sports