Professional Spotlight: Alexander Khokhlachev
Assistant GM Don Sweeney provides insight into Alexander Khokhlachev's progress this year.
BostonBruins.com - Moscow, Ufa, Windsor, Providence. Those are all of the places Alexander Khokhlachev has played hockey this year, resulting in a hectic, but successful, season for the B’s 2011 second-round draft pick.
"Koko," as he is known throughout the Bruins’ organization, started the season with Moscow Spartak of the KHL; represented Russia in Ufa for the 2013 World Junior Championship; then made his way to the OHL to play for the Windsor Spitfires; and now that his OHL season is over, has migrated to play for the Providence Bruins.
“He's had a flavorful season, a bit of a nomad,” said Boston Bruins Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney of the center. “Starting out in a man's league in the KHL, which obviously provided him some challenges as his ice time wavered back and forth, but he adjusted well and took a lot of positives from his time there."
“Alexander then jumped into the World Juniors, playing against his peers, where he played a major role in his teams' success and had a very strong tournament. After the Word Jr's, Koko did not return to the KHL but instead, he came back to North America returning to a familiar spot in the OHL with Windsor, where he tried his best to get that group into the playoffs. They fell short but Koko played very well."
“He's now moved on to Providence and is playing games with a first pace team that is battling for AHL playoff positioning. I think this experience is going to help him immensely. These games will allow him to continue to make the adjustment to the pro game, on a much smaller the ice where things happen quickly.”
Sweeney said it can be challenging for a player like the 19-year-old Khokhlachev to move around from team to team.
“Especially a player that speaks a couple different languages with English not being his primary language,” said Sweeney, when asked of the difficulties of playing for multiple teams in different places in such a short amount of time. “ I think communication is a bit of a challenge at times but, he's a rink rat and he loves to play the game so that is really encouraging from our perspective"
“He practices as hard as he plays. I think that all sets him up for success down the road."
“It's a smaller area game in a North American pro environment," added Sweeney, on overseas players needing to adapt from the larger ice surface. "But he's got great awareness and he adapts very well.”
Khoklachev scored 27 goals this season before joining Providence: two in 26 games with Moscow; 22 in 29 games with Windsor; and three in seven games for Russia during the World Junior tournament.
The Bruins have been pleased with Khokhlachev’s progression and believe he is on the right track in his development. Sweeney said 'Koko' may have a chance to play with Providence during the playoffs and gain even more experience at the pro level.
“We'd like to see him come in and finish strongly here, as well as, get valuable experience from a playoff run,” Sweeney said of the 5-foot-9, 163-pound Moscow native. " He's a competitive kid, so I am sure he was anxious, as Windsor wound down their season and weren't playing in the playoffs, to jump into games in Providence."
“I think he does have the ability play with better players, and his pace seems to pick up and adapt well to new challenges. Koko finds a way to keep up, and make things happen, where other young players sort of have to find their way."