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Alexander Khokhlachev, Brian Ferlin among latest Bruins cuts 10.01.15 at 6:22 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

The Bruins announced another round of cuts Thursday evening, with Alexander Khokhlachev the biggest name among those headed to Providence.

Also released from camp were Brian Ferlin, Anton Blidh, Chris Breen, Brandon DeFazio, Ben Sexton and Tommy Cross. Breen, DeFazio and Sexton were previously cut from camp but recalled for Wednesday’s preseason game against the Rangers. Cross must first clear waivers before he can be assigned to Providence.

With Thursday’s cuts, the Bruins now have 27 players (including the injured Seth Griffith, Dennis Seidenberg and Zdeno Chara) on their roster, though goaltender Jonas Gustavsson remains in camp on a professional tryout.

Khokhlachev’s assignment to Providence is the latest step in what’s been a frustrating tenure with the Bruins. After being chosen early in the second round of the 2011 draft (40th overall), the Russian center has performed well in the AHL but has underwhelmed in pro camps. Clearly a skilled player who figures to be an NHL player before long, he raised questions about his attitude when he recently expressed his unhappiness with where he stands in the organization.

“€œThis is my last year of my contract,”€ he said. “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.’€™€™ I’€™€™m still waiting for it.”

Khokhlachev, who has led Providence in points in each of the last two seasons, played just three NHL games last season. When speaking out recently, he pointed to his lack of ice time (2:53 in his last game on Nov. 24) in saying the team has not given him a chance to prove himself in the NHL.

Asked about Khokhlachev prior to the announcement of Thursday’s cuts, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said the team feels he still needs to make improvements in the AHL.

“All players are entitled to their opinion,” Sweeney said. “I feel that Alexander has a tremendous upside skill-wise. He still has a lot to learn away from the puck. He needs to go through these experiences, and he’€™s only 22 years old. Looking at the big picture for all our young players, they’€™ll determine when they’€™re ready to play and when they can help us at the National Hockey League level. I do believe he’€™s a player that can step in, and whether or not he can play up and down the lineup sort of remains to be seen.

“But we want him to continue to work hard to fill in those gaps, be it faceoffs and there are small details of the game that show up in the scoresheet each night. … There’€™s just little areas of the game that everybody as a young player needs to go through, experience and then come out the other side of it better. He wants to advocate for himself, so I don’€™t blame him for that.”

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Bruins roster projection: Which forward is odd man out? 09.27.15 at 11:19 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

With another round of cuts in the books, here’€™s a (still somewhat early) roster projection for the Bruins:

Forwards (13): Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, Ryan Spooner, Chris Kelly, Brad Marchand, Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, Zac Rinaldo, Loui Eriksson, David Pastrnak, Brett Connolly, Max Talbot, Joonas Kemppainen

Boston’s top nine forwards (in no particular order/alignment) are already locked in. It’s the fourth line and 13th forward where things get tricky.

A line of Chris Kelly between Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot could potentially be infuriating to play against (Kelly gets under his opponents’ skin enough to draw a good number of undisciplined penalties, Talbot is a pest and Rinaldo is Rinaldo), but it would lack skill. The B’€™s could try Alexander Khokhlachev on the fourth line to remedy that, but that likely wouldn’€™t happen unless the B’€™s were to trade Kelly, who is due $3 million against the cap.

Given what a tough time veteran forwards had finding jobs this summer, the guess is the Bruins would have difficulty trading the 34-year-old center this time of year even if they wanted to.

As such, assume for now that Kelly isn’€™t going anywhere and that Khokhlachev is the odd man out. Kelly and Talbot provide upgrades over Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille, so the B’€™s should hope to ice a better fourth line than they had last season.

Pushing for a job, however, is Kemppainen, a defensive forward who comes to the NHL as a 27-year-old after playing his entire professional career in Finland. To this point, Kemppainen has been put on lines this preseason with Rinaldo and Talbot more than Kelly has. That could simply be because the Bruins feel they already know what they have in Kelly, though giving him some reps with Rinaldo couldn’€™t hurt.

Early guess at lines:  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Alexander Khokhlachev, Chris Kelly, Jeremy Smith,
Opposite day: Alexander Khokhlachev running out of patience with Bruins 09.19.15 at 3:16 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

Bruins prospect Alexander Khokhlachev feels that he is overdue for a job in the NHL. He is not happy with the Bruins for not giving him one.

“Boston should make a decision with me,” the 2011 second-round pick said on Saturday. “€œI’€™ve waited for my chance already. Two years. I’€™m just still waiting. We’€™ll see. They should make a decision. Give me a chance, or I don’€™t know. We’€™ll see [what] they’€™ll do.”€

Khokhlachev, who was taken 40th overall in 2011, has played four games in the NHL over the last two seasons, spending nearly all of his Bruins career in Providence. Asked whether he’€™ll demand a trade if he doesn’€™t make the team this season, he was not definitive, though he said he wouldn’€™t want to stay with the organization if they didn’€™t play him in the NHL.

“€œThis is my last year of my contract,”€ he said. “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.’€™ I’€™m still waiting for it.”

Khokhlachev’€™s words, in addition to being depressing for anyone over the age of 22, were interesting given that his frustration with the B’€™s might go both ways. Having invested a high pick in him, the team is within its rights to be upset that he hasn’€™t taken a job by now.

Asked if he’€™s done all that he should have to become an NHLer, Khokhlachev stayed the course.

“Yeah, why not?” he responded. “I played in Providence two years and I led them in scoring two years. I think I’€™m playing good. I’€™m not a young guy anymore. I’€™m 22. I think I’€™m ready for the chance.”

Khokhlachev was given the opportunity (along with Ryan Spooner) to challenge for the team’€™s fourth-line center job last fall. When Khokhlachev turned in an underwhelming preseason, he was returned to Providence.

Boston played him for three games in November, though the third game saw him used on a sparingly played fourth line. Khokhlachev was given just 2:53 of ice time in that contest, a 3-2 overtime loss to the Penguins on Nov. 24.

“I played two games and the third game I played two minutes,” he said of his NHL season. “I don’€™t think that’€™s really a chance. I played fourth line. It doesn’€™t really matter what line I play, but I don’€™t think it’€™s really a chance to be played two games.”

A left-shot center, the Moscow native has indeed led the Baby B’s in points in both 2014-15 (43 points in 61 games) and 2013-14 (57 points in 65 games). Winning a job (or, to stay consistent, being given one) will not be easy. The Bruins’ top-nine centers are already set (Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Spooner) while Khokhlachev is part of a large number of players vying for Boston’s fourth-line center job. Chris Kelly, Zac Rinaldo and Max Talbot are all on one-way contracts, while Khokhlachev’s two-way deal and lack of service means he could be sent up and down without waivers and cost less if he’s in the AHL.

Unlike Kelly, Rinaldo and Talbot, Khokhlachev cannot play wing. Khokhlachev has centered Loui Eriksson and Jake DeBrusk in the first two days of camp.

Khokhlachev, whose father is the general manager of a KHL team, could return home to play in Russia if he decides to leave North America after this season. From his words, he seems to believe he gave the Bruins two years of AHL service in exchange for an eventual spot in the pros, which isn’t exactly how it works. He would prefer the NHL over the KHL, where he played unsuccessfully in 2012.

“My dream is NHL and I want to play there,” he said, “but if Boston will not give me the chance, I can’t do anything.”

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Bruins recall F Alexander Khokhlachev from Providence 11.21.14 at 1:12 pm ET
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The Bruins called up forward Alexander Khokhlachev from AHL Providence on an emergency basis so that he will be eligible for Friday’s road game against the Blue Jackets.

Khokhlachev, a 5-foot-11, 184-pounder, has a team-high five goals along with 11 assists and a plus-2 rating.

The 21-year-old from Moscow was selected by the Bruins in the second round of the 2011 draft.

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Bruins recall Alexander Khokhlachev on emergency basis 11.13.14 at 9:22 am ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhachev

MONTREAL — The Bruins have called up center Alexander Khokhlachev on an emergency basis for Thursday night’€™s game against the Canadiens.

The Bruins do not have a morning skate Thursday, so it’€™s tough to predict where Khokhlachev would slot in the team’€™s lineup. Because he was recalled on an emergency basis, Khokhlachev will make the trip to Montreal as a result of a Bruins injury. Brad Marchand did not play the final 6:23 of Wednesday’s loss, while Mark Divver of the Providence Journal suggested Thursday that Carl Soderberg could have some sort of ailment. Soderberg had a wrist injury earlier in the season, but did not miss any games.

Khokhlachev is amidst an impressive stretch in Providence, so it’€™s possible the B’€™s could put him in Chris Kelly‘€™s place on Milan Lucic‘€™s line with Seth Griffith, and return Kelly to Carl Soderberg’€™s line. Claude Julien shook up Boston’€™s lines in the second period of Wednesday’€™s loss to the Maple Leafs, moving Matt Fraser from Soderberg’€™s line to the fourth line.

A second-round pick in the 2011 draft, Khokhlachev has five goals and six assists for Providence in 12 games this season. The Moscow native has centered a line with wingers Jordan Caron and David Pastrnak, with Anthony Camara playing left wing on the line the last four games while Caron nursed an upper-body injury.

Thursday will be Khokhlachev’€™s second career NHL game. He skated in last season’€™s regular-season finale against the Devils.

David Krejci did not travel with the B’€™s to Toronto or Montreal. He remains out due to a hip injury suffered in the final game of the preseason.

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Alexander Khokhlachev hungry for any spot with Bruins 09.18.14 at 10:56 pm ET
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Alexander Khokhachev

Alexander Khokhlachev

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.

“œSure, why not? I’€™m not just a skill guy,”€ Khokhlachev said Thursday. “€œFor 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. “€œYou’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.

“€œIt 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.”

Read More: Alexander Khokhlachev, Gregory Campbell, Ryan Spooner,
Alexander Khokhlachev, Anthony Camara invited to NHLPA Rookie Showcase 08.12.14 at 7:11 pm ET
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Bruins prospects Alexander Khokhlachev and Anthony Camara have been invited to the 2014 NHLPA Rookie Showcase, which will be held next Saturday at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto.

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.

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