|Alexander Khokhlachev hungry for any spot with Bruins||09.18.14 at 10:56 pm ET|
Peter Chiarelli said Thursday that there are four forward spots open this training camp, though he wouldn’t specify which. In reality, there’s uncertainty in more places than that on Boston’s forward lines.
Jarome Iginla’s old spot on David Krejci‘s line is the only top-six position up for grabs. On the bottom two lines, however, Carl Soderberg centering the third line looks to be the only certainty. A gaggle of forwards are competing for the wing spots, while the fourth line is one big question mark with numerous potential answers.
That’s where Alexander Khokhlachev comes in.
Gregory Campbell has centered the fourth line for the last four seasons, but that may change. The Bruins have a pair of NHL centers knocking on the NHL‘s door, and the team has considered moving Campbell to wing if either one wins the fourth-line center.
One of those player is Ryan Spooner. The other is Khokhlachev, who was chosen in the second round in 2011, a year after Spooner. Both players stand at 5-foot-11, but Khokhlachev is thicker, having bulked up to 189 pounds this offseason (Spooner is listed at 181 pounds).
Spooner has more AHL experience, but Khokhlachev hopes that after putting up 57 points (21 goals, 36 assists) in 65 games last season in his first full campaign with Providence, he’s ready for the NHL.
There are two questions with the left-shooting 21-year-old. One is whether he could play wing if need be ‘ he did at points of a 26-game stint in the KHL during the lockout ‘ and the other is whether he would make sense as a fourth-liner at either position.
“Sure, why not? I’m not just a skill guy,” Khokhlachev said Thursday. “For sure, I like to score goals and get points and help my team win, but if this year they put me on the fourth line and want me [play a different role], I’m still a young guy and I develop my game pretty much every day, so I don’t care where they put me. It doesn’t matter for me. I will be happy.”
Campbell is out with a mid-core injury to begin training camp, so the Bruins will be able to get longer looks at Khokhlachev and Spooner, something that Chiarelli sees as a silver lining to having players missing.
“Those guys both tested well and ran well, and they both had real good seasons last year,” Chiarelli said of Spooner and Khokhlachev. “You’ll probably see some of the guys higher up on the depth chart for centers, and you might see them on the wing at some point.”
Khokhlachev said he didn’t do anything differently this offseason to prepare for being a wing, but he’s more than willing to play the position if that’s the opportunity given to him. His priority is being in the NHL.
“It doesn’t matter where they put me. Coaches, management, they know better,” he said. “For now, I don’t really care. I just want to make the team. Wherever they put me, I’ll be happy with that and enjoy it.”
|Alexander Khokhlachev, Anthony Camara invited to NHLPA Rookie Showcase||08.12.14 at 7:11 pm ET|
Khokhlachev and Camara, both of whom spent last season in Providence, will join a group of 31 other prospects that includes Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad, the No. 1 overall pick in June’s draft.
A Russian center, Khokhlachev was drafted 40th overall in the 2011 draft. After playing 11 games in Providence in 2012-13, he played all but one of his games last season in the AHL, scoring 21 goals and adding 36 assists for Providence. He played in his only NHL game to date on April 13 last season.
The Bruins selected Camara in the third round of the same draft. A chippy left wing, Camara dominated in his fourth year of OHL play, scoring 36 goals with the Barrie Colts. In his first professional season, Camara notched nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points and 50 penalty minutes in 58 regular-season contests.
While Khokhlachev will compete with Ryan Spooner for a job in Boston next season, Camara is more likely to return to Providence.
|Gregory Campbell cool with potential move to wing||08.06.14 at 8:19 pm ET|
LOWELL – Though he tossed the first pitch prior to Wednesday’s Spinner’s game, Gregory Campbell will not be a pitcher next season. From there, it gets tougher to narrow down which position he’ll play.
Campbell, who has centered Boston’s fourth line since the B’s acquired the former second-round pick in a trade with the Panthers prior to the 2010-11 season, is due to see plenty of change in the coming season. For starters, Shawn Thornton is gone. Daniel Paille may move up to replace Loui Eriksson on the third line. Plus, with Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev knocking on the NHL‘s door, Campbell may be moved to wing. Peter Chiarelli said the possibility has been discussed and that the team feels he’d be able to handle it.
Discussing the possibility of the position switch for the first time, Campbell told WEEI.com he would put up no fight if moved to the wing.
“I’ve been a center for the last four years, but I’m not going to [demand anything]. I want to be in a spot where I can complement other guys,” Campbell said. “If they throw me with whoever it is and I have to play wing and we’re a successful line, then so be it. That’s where I want to be. I have played center for a long time, so it may take me a few games, but I’m sure I can do it.”
The position wouldn’t be completely new for Campbell. He played some wing over the course of his five-season tenure with the Panthers, and he’s confident he’d be able to swing it.
“I played wing in Florida for a while in different seasons,” he said. “I think the last season I was in Florida I was actually a winger, so I’m comfortable with doing that. Obviously I haven’t played wing in some time now, but it’s a position that I think is easy to adapt to. It’s not necessary an easy position to play, but the responsibilities are a little different and I’m used to those responsibilities and would welcome the challenge.”
The Bruins are no strangers to moving veteran centers to the wing. Just last season, Chris Kelly was moved to left wing to accommodate Carl Soderberg. In 2011, the B’s traded for Rich Peverley and made him a wing on Kelly’s line.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins considering moving Gregory Campbell to wing so Ryan Spooner or Alexander Khokhlachev can play||07.13.14 at 1:36 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — The Bruins learned this season that Carl Soderberg was too good at center to play out of position on the wing, so they moved their third-line center, Chris Kelly, to left wing and saw that trio with Loui Eriksson become a superb third line.
General manager Peter Chiarelli said Sunday that the team has discussed moving Campbell out of his natural center position to allow one of the young centers to play in the NHL.
The team has been hesitant to move Spooner or Khokhlachev to the wing because they feel the players are better suited for the middle.
“When you move someone to the wing it’s the board work, and that’s what’s really tough,” Chiarelli said. ‘It’s almost like pick your poison a little bit with the young guys, but those two players both have really good sticks and they’re smart, so body position and timing, getting pucks out of the boards, that’s the trickiest part when you move from center to wing, and then standing start.”
Campbell is tougher than both Spooner and Khokhlachev, so he’s more of a sure thing to be able to handle the board work and required battling that comes with playing on the wing.
Such a move would certainly be very Bruins of the Bruins. Claude Julien loves having multiple centers on a line, as it gives him multiple players who can effectively take draws and give the Bruins possession. It’s part of the reason Rich Peverley, a center who was used primarily at wing in his Bruins career, was such a valuable asset in his Boston days.
For more Bruins news, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins recall Alexander Khokhlachev, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad||04.13.14 at 12:55 pm ET|
The Bruins recalled four forwards from Providence on an emergency basis Sunday morning. Alexander Khokhlachev, Craig Cunningham, Justin Florek and Matt Lindblad will all join the team in New Jersey and be available for the team’s regular-season finale against the Devils.
Khokhlachev is the only one of the four who has yet to play an NHL game, and as such, the 2011 second-round pick will in all likelihood make his NHL debut. He has 21 goals and 36 assists for a team-leading 57 points in 63 games for Providence this season.
Florek played very well for the Bruins in a three-game stint with the team in January, scoring a goal and adding an assist for two points while subbing on the team’s fourth line. Cunningham and Lindblad each played one game apiece.
The forwards will be used both due to injuries (Daniel Paille and Patrice Bergeron both left Saturday’s game, while Chris Kelly has missed the last two and won’t play Sunday) and perhaps for the sake of rest of other players. According to the Boston Globe, Bergeron, Paille, Kelly, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla did not travel to New Jersey.
For more Bruins coverage, visit weei.com/bruins.
|Bruins call up forwards Craig Cunningham, Alexander Khokhlachev||02.20.14 at 12:46 pm ET|
The Bruins announced Thursday that they have called up forwards Craig Cunningham and Alexander Khokhlachev from the team’s AHL affiliate in Providence.
In 53 games with the P-Bruins, Cunningham has a team-high 19 goals with 15 assists. Khokhlachev has 13 goals and 21 assists in 43 Providence games.
Cunningham and Khokhlachev are expected to provide depth in practice as the Bruins give their Olympians some time to readjust before the NHL starts up again next week.
|Bruins away from Boston roundup: Stats from around the world||10.01.12 at 12:05 pm ET|
With the NHL still locked out and lovin’ it (not really, but that’s catchy), here’s a look at how some of the B’s players and prospects are faring in various other leagues. Some players, such as Andrew Ference, have yet to join their new teams, while other players in the area still may elect to sign elsewhere, so these roundups will get longer as the weeks go on.
Swiss National League A
– Tyler Seguin‘s first game with EHC Biel left him with a stat line fans might like but Claude Julien would consider a nightmare: one assist and a minus-4 rating. There are plenty more points to come for Seguin, with the 20-year-old probably eager to improve that plus/minus. Remember, Seguin had a plus-34 rating last season, something that was undoubtedly aided by the fact that he was on a line with the Selke winner.
– Alexander Khockhlachev has one goal and a minus-5 rating through 11 games in the KHL. The plan was for the Bruins’ 2011 second-round pick to play in the KHL this season regardless of CBA goings on, as a season with the Moscow Spartak working for his father (Igor Khokhlachev is the team’s general manager) figured to be more beneficial than a third turn turn in the OHL for the 19-year-old.
– In five games for Moscow Oblast Atlant, Bruins backup goalie Anton Khudobin is 2-1-1 with a 2.63 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
– Dougie Hamilton scored his first goal of the season on Sunday night in Niagara’s 5-4 loss to Kingston, a game in which Hamilton added an assist and had a plus-4 rating. Through four games in his fourth season with Niagara, Hamilton has a goal and three assists for four points and a plus-6 rating with four penalty minutes. Hamilton will join the Bruins for camp if and when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.
– 2011 third-round pick Anthony Camara has a whopping five goals and six points through five games this season for the Barrie Colts. The tough guy has added 10 penalty minutes and has a plus-1 rating. Three of those goals came in the form of a hat trick in Barrie’s season-opener.
Remember, Camara was a somewhat surprising pick when the B’s grabbed him as early as they did in 2011, as he had totaled just 14 goals in two OHL seasons to that point. Last season, Camara had 16 goals between Saginaw and Barrie, and it’s clear that his exponential offensive improvement is still going. Keep an eye on Camara, as his grit and newfound scoring touch could one day make him an ideal Bruin.
– Through four games with Belleville, 2012 24th overall pick Malcolm Subban is 2-2-0 with a 1.98 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told reporters Friday that the B’s could bring Subban to camp this season the way they will with Hamilton, but you’d have to think that would be very unlikely given how far away from NHL-ready the 18-year-old is.
Latest from Bleacher Report
- Do the Bruins Need to Make Major Change on Defense Before 2014-15?
- Should the Bruins Re-Sign Shawn Thornton?
- Bruins Prospects Look to Preserve Their AHL Playoff Run
- Complete Guide to Bruins' 2014 Offseason
- Final Report Card for Bruins' 2013-14 Season
- Game 6 Keys for Bruins, Canadiens
- Takeaways from Canadiens vs. Bruins Game 5