Boston Bruins Alexander Khokhlachev Skating On Top Line


Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins have called up center Alexander Khokhlachev from Providence ahead of their match-up with the Dallas Stars. After being relatively invisible during the preseason, Khokhlachev is seemingly getting his first opportunity with the Bruins this season. Khokhlachev replaced David Pastrnak on the David Krejci line alongside Loui Eriksson, while Pastrnak was absent from practice.

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  • One of the Bruins more talented prospects, Khokhlachev created a stir during training camp by stating “I will not play in Providence all my life”. With the media in a frenzy, Khokhlachev’s agent Alexei Dementiev clarified his client’s words: “At the present time Alexander Khokhlachev is at the Boston Bruins training camp, has one more year (on his) NHL deal and does his best to be the Bruin,” He also said “In this circumstance we can’t and we don’t talk to SKA St. Petersburg, the KHL team, who has his rights in Russia.” Dementiev concluded by saying: “Regarding Alexander’s interview several days ago, all I can say that we really want hockey people to hear how much he wants to be an NHL player and nothing about complaints or other innuendo – just a simple statement of facts.” To summarize, Dementiev was stating that it was Khokhlachev’s passion that led to his comments, and nothing more.

    The Bruins could certainly use passion on their roster, especially with the roll they’ve been on as of late in their last seven games, compiling a record of 6-0-1 and averaging 3.9 goals per game. Khoklachev is a tremendous offensive talent who will be complemented nicely by David Krejci and Loui Eriksson; both players have amazing two-way ability while also having a knack for generating offense. Even if Khokhlachev is found out of position on a defensive play, he should get away with it as a result of his line mates taking the brunt of the load; similarly to how they have with David Pastrnak flanking the right wing.

    Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien had this to say about the call-up of Alexander Khokhlachev “I think he’s a good playmaker, he’s a smart, heady player and you know, he’s leading the league right now in American League so certainly deserves an opportunity to come up here and help us out,”  Khokhlachev has been off to a torrid point-scoring pace in Providence so far this season, posting four goals and nine assists for 13 goals in ten games. The Bruins are hoping Khokhlachev can continue to generate offense at the NHL level, and inserting him into the top right wing position right after his call-up clearly shows that they have trust in his ability as a player.

    Claude Julien has had no issue with playing centers at the wing position in the past, recently stating “I think the main thin is, and I’ve said it all along, centers can play wing.” Julien continued by saying “I’m not sure how many wings can play center. So, that’s the luxury that we’ve always had. Kelly’s played the wing for a long time. Talbot was basically a centerman as well. We’ve got a lot of those interchangeable parts, so we’re trying to take advantage of it.” The Bruins certainly have a lot of center depth and the lineup is almost impossible to crack in a top-six role at that position as a result of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci manning the top two lines. Claude Julien also said “And he has been playing the wing for the most part in Providence this year so he’ll get a chance to do that with us as well.”

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    Alexander Khokhlachev is playing for his next contract; whether that be with the Bruins or another team. Historically in contract years, athletes perform at their absolute best due to the uncertainty of their future, and Khokhlachev should be able to couple that motivation as well as his drive to make the NHL as a full-time roster player to excel in his time with the Bruins. If Khokhlachev does exceed expectations and earns a full-time NHL job, it will be interesting to see how Claude Julien shuffles his lineup moving forward.

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

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