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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bruins prospect profile #4: Alexander Khokhlachev

Alexander Khokhlachev, C
5-10, 180
September 9, 1993 in Moscow, Russia
Shoots: Left
Boston's 2nd choice, 40th overall in 2011 Draft
Signing status: Unsigned

Talent Analysis

Does not have ideal height, but is stocky with a thick build. Good skater who is more quick than fast. Master of his edges and can make extremely rapid turns, stops and starts. Not a burner, but elusive and slippery with the ability to separate in open ice. Low to the ice and strong on his skates- fights through checks on his way to the net. Deft stickhandler who can make dazzling moves in space and in traffic. At times quicker with the puck on his stick than he is without it. Determined and relentless when looking to find the back of the net- makes everyone around him better. Lightning-fast release on an accurate wrist shot; can score from in close and from the outside as well. Picks the corners and could hit 50+ goals in the OHL next season if things break right for him. Underrated backhand- able to get it upstairs with very little room to work with. Effective at wheeling into corners and coming out with the puck to generate scoring chances. Protects the puck well despite the lack of size. Does not have the size or makeup to be a physical player, but doesn't shy away from contact and will do honest work along the boards and in front of the net.

Outstanding offensive hockey sense and vision- aggressively attacks defenses and has the ability to create for himself and linemates. Plays with passion and exuberance but doesn't always give the same kind of effort/intensity in the defensive zone as he does when carrying the offense. A natural feel for the game and has the kind of game-breaking dimension that Boston has not possessed in abundance over the last 10 years or so. His English is still a work in progress, but he was taking classes in Windsor twice a week and gave an honest effort at engaging the media in Wilmington. By the time he's ready to seriously compete for a spot in Boston, he should be well acclimated and comfortable. Nickname is "Koko" Good, solid kid who is going to be a fan favorite and well-liked in the room for his easy smile and passion for the game. Wants to be a player and will likely improve the intensity levels as he gets more comfortable in North America.

2011 Boston Bruins Development Camp Assessment:
Going to Wilmington was an eye-opener for Khokhlachev who keenly felt the pace, tempo and physical demands of the five-day camp experience. His conditioning and fitness level wasn't where it needed to be, but understandable given the fact that he was only about 12 days removed from having been drafted. He showed off his high-end talent and skill in flashes, though wasn't able to carry the play in quite the same fashion as fellow OHLers Ryan Spooner and Jared Knight. Still, it was clear to any who watched him that he is one of the most skilled prospects in the Boston system.

Development Camp video: Alexander Khokhlachev

Koko has the kind of pure talent to be a top-line NHL player one day. His youth and the fact that he had just one year in North America makes him a bit of a wild card to project, but with his quick hands, feet and a real head for the game, the second-round pick could end up being one of the real steals in this draft with impressive upside. Red Line Report listed him as one of the top-5 best value picks of the entire draft (4th overall) in the July issue. He has all the makings of a star and should only get better as he matures. By this time next year, Koko could possibly emerge as Boston's top prospect, and to be frank- you can make the case that he already is. These rankings are subjective, so putting him atop the list makes perfect sense, we just want to see what he does at Boston's training camp in the fall and in his second OHL campaign assuming he goes back to junior.


"[Alexander] Khokolachev, just going through our drafts, Khokolachev, again, very skilled. He arrived in not the greatest shape but I know he’s going to take care of that as the year progresses, as the summer progresses."- Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli , July 11, 2011

"I mean, he’s a young kid too and this is a different environment for him. He’s got some things that we’re going to identify going forward throughout the summer and going back that he’ll get in better shape and he knows it. But when the puck drops he makes plays. He sees the ice so very well. He’s probably a little unselfish that we’re going to get him to shoot the puck a little bit more. But he’s a really good kid and he wants to play over her. So we’re just going to continue to work with him. I mean, this is hard. He doesn’t really have, he’s got Besa [Tsintsadze] now that he can speak Russian to but he’s not bad, he understands it pretty well. So being able to communicate with him and being very direct in terms of what he needs to do in order to take advantage of, as you pointed out, the high level of skill that he has and the hockey sense that he has."- Bruins Assistant GM Don Sweeney; July 10, 2011

"Well, watching some of the in tight drills, especially the small ice games, he’s got excellent hands in tight, he freezes goaltenders, he gets pucks up in tight, so certainly the skill and goal-scoring ability is there. His conditioning needs to get better, but he’s one of the, what usually happens, these young guys, it’s an eye-opener, their first camp. I don’t think they truly realize how good of shape professional players are [in], so he’ll get that part of it down. But like I said, I like his instincts around the net."- Providence Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy; July 8, 2011


  1. Khokhlachev has never scored a goal in an AHL game, Spooner and Knight have only played a few games in Providence but are ranked higher than Caron, Arniel and Sauve ?

    Start the list over because you can be good in the OHL but be a bust in the AHL. Playing well in development camp means nothing.

  2. This subjective list is based on ultimate NHL upside and the fact that the players you mentioned are older and therefore have played more AHL games does not enter into the equation, chief.

  3. One last thing, pal- Zach Hamill has more AHL games than both of Arniel and Caron combined- should Hamill be #1 overall?

  4. No because Zack hasn't produced in the AHL. Arniel, Caron and Sauve have in a much shorter time frame.

    This answers a question for me in that some evaluators of NHL prospects look at how they think rookies would do if they jumped straight to the NHL without any grinding in a tighter AHL checking game.

    Knight, Spooner, Sauve and Caron were all point per game players their last two seasons in Junior but Ryan and Jared jump over two players who have grind-ed it out in a tougher league so it's just a difference of opinion.

    I say Sauve and Caron bet to the show first, Chief.

  5. Given that Sauve and Caron are two and three years older than the other guys, I don't disagree with that bold prediction on your part.

    But it's not how the ranking system on this blog works, so your objections are noted.

    Have a nice day.

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