Over the past two seasons, Alexander Khokhlachev has scored 38 goals and 103 points in 137 AHL games, yet the Bruins prospect has only managed to get called up to the NHL for four games. At 22, he feels he’s ready to take on a bigger role and wants the Bruins to, “make a decision.”
For the past two seasons, Alexander Khokhlachev has been the Providence Bruins’ leading scorer, yet he has only managed to crack the Boston lineup for four games. With training camp underway, the 22-year-old has been vocal about getting a shot to show what he can do in the big league.
When asked about his role with the team at Bruins training camp over the weekend, Khokhlachev didn’t hold back.
“Boston should make a decision with me,” he told WEEI’s DJ Bean. “I’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.”
While the argument can be made about playing style or fit with the Bruins, it’s hard not to feel as though Khokhlachev is right in his frustration. As pointed out, he has led Providence in scoring over the past two seasons and has 38 goals and 103 points in 137 games with the P-Bruins. His production took a bit of a dive in 2014-15 — he finished with 15 goals and 43 points after a 21-goal, 57-point rookie campaign the year prior — but he still has the natural ability to be a depth contributor for the Bruins, especially considering Boston’s goal scoring woes saw them finish 23rd in goals for in 2014-15.
Drafted 40th overall by the Bruins in 2011, Khokhlachev only has one year remaining on his entry-level deal. As it stands right now and judging from Khokhlachev’s obvious dissatisfaction with his situation, it doesn’t seem as though he’d be willing to accept another two-way contract or any pact that doesn’t carry the promise of a regular spot in the NHL.
“I’m 22 already,” Khokhlachev told Bean. “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.”
The young center is also quick to point out that when it comes to getting his chance, he wants what he feels is a real, genuine shot at making an impact for the Bruins. In his three games this past season, he skated 9:33, 12:10 and 2:53, his linemates included Seth Griffith, Matt Fraser and Milan Lucic and Khoklachev started almost every single one of his shift in the offensive zone. While that optimizes his chances on offense, it shows a distrust in his ability on the defensive side of the puck and limits Khokhlachev’s chances to get on the ice.
“I played two games and the third game I played two minutes,” he told Bean. “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.”
Khokhlachev maintained that his dream is to play in the NHL, but said that if Boston won’t give him the chance he, “can’t do anything.” If he fails to make the Bruins out of training camp, he’ll be headed back to Providence with no promise of a shot at the NHL this season. And should he post another decent year in Providence, it’s hard to imagine he’ll settle for anything less than a surefire shot at the NHL in 2016-17.