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Alexander Khokhlachev likely heading to KHL

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The Bruins still retain his rights, but it is very likely Koko's NHL career is over

To Russia with love
To Russia with love
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

According to sources, and common sense, Alex Khokhlachev has played his last game in a Bruins uniform.

Once his contract expires, and he can make the jump from the NHL to the KHL he will, leaving the Providence Bruins without their franchise assist leader, and a player who never truly got a shot in the NHL.

With a professional career path mirroring Ryan Spooner's, just a year behind, it's tough to not draw some similarities between the small playmaking pivots. Spooner was drafted in the middle of the second round in 2010, Khokhlachev in 2011. Both Spooner and Khokhlachev played three years in the AHL full time, with Spooner getting the most of the NHL chances, including the call up to try and help replace injured center David Krejci during the 2014-15 season. That break would be what Spooner needed, as he cemented his spot into the lineup, and into the organization's plans moving forward.

Earlier that year, Spooner's name was constantly thrown around in trade talks (Spooner and a second round pick for Chris Stewart), and he was even moved to the wing, rumored to be at the behest of a team that wanted to trade for him.

Alex Khokhlachev hasn't had that chance yet. He likely never will.

Late in the year, when Claude Julien tried to jump start Spooner by moving him to Krejci's left wing, and there was a clear shot for Koko to get a shot in the 3c role, playing with Beleskey and Pastrnak. A young skilled offensive player, centering Pastrnak and a veteran who can handle himself around the net. Surely that would never work (Spooner was recalled 2/21/15).

The Bruins chose to recall Max Talbot instead, effectively slamming home the door on any potential Khokhlachev return next year, a door that was already being pushed shut when they recalled Austin Czarnik instead of him earlier in the season.

Let me be clear: Khokhlachev did not impress me, or many people with his play in the NHL so far. He played passively, and uninspired hockey. HOWEVER: Alexander Khokhlachev has played 91 minutes of hockey in the NHL. That is a miniscule sample size to begin basing a player off of. He hasn't even played enough to get a WARRIOR chart. Should it be held against him? Slightly. He's 22, and not many players are ready for NHL minutes when they are 20 or 21. What we do have a large enough sample size to look at is his AHL career, with just under 200 games played, and 171 points, good for .87 points per game. Again, I go back to Spooner, who had 136 points in 150 AHL games, good for .91 points per game. That .04 points per game over an 82 game season is just over 3 points. The gap between them in the AHL wasn't very large, the main gap that happened was the amount of chances that they got at the NHL level to work through their flaws.

Anyways, Koko is pretty much gone, so lets remember him with this great passing play that tied him for the Providence Bruins franchise assist record. This is one of two known instances when Frank Vatrano has had the puck and didn't shoot as well.

The Bruins retain Koko's rights, so if he was to return to make an NHL comeback again it would either be with the Bruins, or after the Bruins trade his rights to another team.