Alexander Khokhlachev Left the Boston Bruins Last Offseason to Sign a Two-Year Deal with St. Petersburg SKA of the KHL.
When Alexander Khokhlachev was playing in the Boston Bruins system, he was often part of the news. Despite only playing in nine NHL games, Khokhlachev became something of a household name in Boston, but for all the wrong reasons.
Before looking at how Khokhlachev’s done in the KHL, a good place to start is a reminder of who he is and what he did while playing in the Bruins system.
Who is Alexander Khokhlachev?
An offensive stud in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires, Khokhlachev was drafted by the Bruins in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. In his draft year, the young Russian scored 34 goals and 76 points in 67 games. He also put up nine goals and 20 points in 18 postseason games. His offensive skill set was evident, highlighted by his creativity with the puck. Ultimately, it led to him being drafted early by the Bruins who had high hopes for his future with the team.
In his next 85 games with Windsor, Khokhlachev scored 47 goals and 117 points. In total, the Moscow-native posted 81 goals and 193 points in just 152 OHL games. He also played in the KHL for 26 games with the Moscow Spartak, scoring just two goals and seven points. If anything, this showed the Bruins that Khokhlachev still needed time to develop ahead of joining the NHL. In his first 11 games in the AHL following the conclusion of the 2012-13 OHL season, Khokhlachv scores two goals and three points.
Working Towards an Opportunity
It wasn’t until Khokhlachev’s first AHL season that he really started to show what he could do. In a 65 game rookie season in the AHL, Khokhlachev scored 21 goals and 57 points. In 12 postseason games, he also scored an impressive nine goals and 14 points. Getting his first taste of NHL action, Khokhlachev played in one game in Boston that season, recording a penalty and failing to notch a point.
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In the following two seasons, Khokhlachev skated in 121 AHL games, scored 38 goals and 111 points as well as eight playoff games with two goals and five points. The offensive ability was there, but for one reason or another, Khokhlachev failed to get a consistent opportunity in the NHL. In three games in the 2014-15 season, Khokhlachev had a blank stat line with a minus-2 rating. In five games in the 2015-16 season, he didn’t fair any better as he finished with zero points again, on top of a minus-2 rating.
Tension Grew for Multiple Reasons
In the middle of these few-and-far-between NHL opportunities, Khokhlachv expressed his displeasure with the opportunity he was getting in Boston.
“Boston should make a decision with me,” Khokhlachev said. “I’ve waited for my chance already. Two years. I’m just still waiting. We’ll see. They should make a decision. Give me a chance, or I don’t know. We’ll see [what] they’ll do.”
Khokhlachev went as far as to say that he wouldn’t play in the AHL for his entire career.
“This is my last year of my 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. They told me, ‘Just wait for your chance.’ I’m still waiting for it.” Khokhlachev said.
In Khokhlachev’s defense, the opportunity was never really granted. His minutes were inconsistent at best. When speaking of his games in the 2014-15 season, Khokhlachev expressed as much.
“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.”
What Khokhlachev never seemed to mention, however, was his stint alongside David Krejci and Loui Eriksson. For two games, including the 2016 NHL Winter Classic, Khokhlachev got his chance. At the time, Krejci and Eriksson were white hot and were producing at an outrageous clip. Still, somehow, Khokhlachev failed to produce a point. He showed some bright spots, but ultimately he failed to make the best of a golden opportunity. This led once again to a demotion to Providence with Brad Marchand set to return from suspension.
Leaving for the KHL
In the end, Khokhlachev played out his contract and left for the KHL. The Bruins didn’t trade his rights, and though they still hold his rights, the mention of Khokhlachev has died down ever since. So what has Khokhlachev done since joining St. Petersburg SKA?
In short, Khokhlachev hasn’t done much in the KHL. In 20 games, he’s scored four goals and nine points. In his debut, he had one shot on goal and was a minus-1 with 10:16 of ice time – the lowest on the team. He quickly became a healthy scratch in the team’s next game, which was symbolic of his NHL career.
Khokhlachev did score his first two goals in one game in late September, though he’s only scored two more goals since that time.
It’s clear that Khokhlachev has immense talent. His creativity is evident, as is his ability to make plays with the puck – be it to score a goal, or set up his teammates. For whatever reason, the 23-year-old has failed to put it all together at this point in his career. Still, he’s young enough to turn his career around – some players simply take longer than others to develop into bonafide stars. It’s unclear where Khokhlachev will end up in his career, or how well he’ll do. Though he’s no longer with the Boston Bruins, his career is still up in the air.