Bruins Top 25 Under 25: #6 Alexander Khokhlachev

Not quite Sturmface, but not too shabby - Richard Wolowicz

Alexander Khokhlachev

C

Height: 5-10 (charitably)
Weight: 188
Born: September 9th, 1993
2012-2013 Numbers: KHL Spartak 2-5-7, 26gp | OHL Windsor 22-26-48 29gp | AHL Providence 2-1-3 11gp

At #6 on our depth chart, Alexander Khoklachev overcame the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of his Russianness to be drafted 40th overall by the xenophobic Bruins in 2011. Immediately an impact player upon hitting North American Junior, he's perhaps the most offensively gifted youngster in the Black and Gold prospect pool, starting his OHL career as a point-per-gamer and only going up from there.

The little globe trotter made his way through three leagues last season, playing in the KHL, OHL and AHL. He failed to light the world on fire in the Russian big league, contributing only 7 points in 26 games. Returning to competition his age, he trounced those kids one handed popping off a whopping 48 points in 29 games, good for 6th in points per game in the league behind only Vince Trocheck, Nick Cousins, Alex Galchenyuk, Ryan Strome and Mark Scheifele. Granted, that's in his draft +2 year, but he's already firmly established himself as ppg+, so it's unlikely we're looking at a kid reaping the benefits of lesser competition.

While his offense is unquestionable, the well-roundedness of his game is a different story. While this is colored with a certain shade of sour grape, as it followed the announcement of Khok's flight for pro hockey in Russia, but his OHL team's owner Warren Rychel told Sportsnet last August that he didn't feel his prospect was developed enough for the pro game.

"If he was ready -- a finished NHL product -- then I would obviously shake his hand and let him go... Koko's got a lot more to learn in his own end about being a complete, two-way player and I thought he could have done that here with (head coach and co-owner Bob Boughner)," Rychel said. "The plan was for him to complete his three years here and develop, but it is what it is and it's over with. He's going to make money this year in the KHL and he's going to play for his father."

Finishing the year in Providence, he returned to his modest KHL output, offering a mere 3 points in 11 games. Lacking the aforementioned two-way game, he evidently didn't earn the trust of the P-B's brass and was benched for the playoff ride. For those of us who are not primarily Providence fans and view the team as a training ground rather than a team in its own right, we might like to see our prospects getting some pro experience but I'm sure guys like Christian Hanson and Trent Whitfield were far more valuable and likely to contribute offense. Right?

Sarah Cornelius Ecozens Wayne Whittaker Ian McLaren Sean Hathaway TomServo42 BruinsHockeyNow Dan
12 14 6 6 4 5 4 11

Ordinarily, I would call Cornelius and Sarah heretics who hate offense, but it's clear there's enough cause for skepticism despite Koko's top notch offensive tools that I wouldn't begrudge them their opinion in this instance. Still, he's the most natural sniper in the system and an excellent playmaker. He possesses a skill set lacking in the system since the graduation of our current class of centermen and is a much needed piece in our depth chart.

Given the negative defensive reports and our coaching staff's propensity to promote "safe" players over skilled, Khoklachev shouldn't be considered to have a high likelihood of making the Big B's this season or even to have first crack at a call up. After narrowly escaping a fate worse than death - being traded to the Calgary Flames organization - as well as a separate reported trade package for Brendan Morrow, it's clear that the Bruins organization doesn't rate him as highly as we do here (not tough enough, eh Scott Bradley?). He'll have to prove himself among pros first and has a few guys to leapfrog even if he swaps to the wing. But if it's pure, innate offensive skill you're looking for, New Khok's for you!

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