Alexander Khokhlachev Likely Finished With Bruins

It’s been a bumpy ride for Alexander Khokhlachev and the Boston Bruins. The 22-year-old Russian center has spent most of his time with the Providence Bruins in the AHL, where he’s seen sustained success as a point-getter for the Baby Bruins. However, his inability to prove himself at an NHL level, or, as he would tell you, his lack of a chance to do so, has created a rift between Khokhlachev and the Bruins. Khokhlachev watched from afar as the Bruins failed to make the playoffs once again, and it appears his lack of NHL action this season may have been the last straw between Khokhlachev and the Bruins.

Khokhlachev has been a breakout player in the AHL. In his first full season with the Baby Bruins (2013-14), Khokhlachev posted 57 points in 65 games. He followed up with a 43-point campaign in 2014-15, and a career-high 68-point season in just 60 AHL games this season.

However, despite his consistent success at an AHL level, Khokhlachev has only made nine appearances with Boston’s NHL squad.

Khokhlachev made it known that he was fed up with the lack of an opportunity to prove himself back in training camp when he warned the Bruins that this was their last chance at keeping him.

“This is my last year of contract,” he said during Bruins training camp, per NESN. “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, and I’m still waiting for that. I played in Providence 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.”

On one hand, you can understand where Khokhlachev is coming from. It’s true that he’s been limited to just nine NHL games despite finding extreme success in the AHL over the last three years. At such a young age, it’s tough to show your entire skillset in such a limited period of time. But it’s a dog-eat-dog world in the NHL, and when push came to shove, Boston has had better options.

You might argue that Khokhlachev’s problem isn’t his lack of opportunity, but his inability to make his opportunities worthwhile. In his nine NHL games, Khokhlachev hasn’t shown the Bruins anything special. He didn’t record a single point, he took one penalty, and carried a minus-two rating. He may complain about a lack of opportunity, but why should Boston give him another chance when they’ve got players who made an immediate impact? The harsh truth for Khokhlachev is that other players have out-performed him at an NHL level when given the chance. Production-wise, players like Landon Ferraro and Frank Vatrano showed up when it mattered, and added a noticeable spark to the Bruins lineup that Khokhlachev didn’t add. He couldn’t make the most of his opportunity, however brief, and now he’s dealing with the consequences of that.

With Khokhlachev set to become a free agent this summer, it appears his career in black and gold has come to an end.

From the sound of it, Khokhlachev may make the dash to the KHL. Perhaps Boston never gave him a fair shot to prove himself at an NHL level. But we all know how Boston’s season went, so how can we blame them for choosing to roll with players who made an immediate impact?

It’s an unfortunate truth for Khokhlachev, and maybe even the Bruins. But chances are, their awkward relationship has come to an end.

Прощай, Alexander Khokhlachev.