A new wrinkle in the Alexander Khokhlachev-Bruins saga.
Just a few days after Khokhlachev said Boston “should make a decision with me” and “give me a chance,” reports out of Russia say KHL powerhouse SKA St. Petersburg is keeping an eye on the talented center.
Per Russian news agency TASS, SKA — which acquired Khokhlachev’s rights this summer — is “closely following” the situation, with KHL board of directors member Roman Rotenberg reportedly saying a return to Russia is “possible.”
Khokhlachev, 22, was the 40th overall pick in 2011 and has proven to be a quality scorer at the AHL level, notching 100 points in 126 games with Providence over the last two years. “Koko” has only seen limited time with the Bruins, however — four games — and appears frustrated at his inability to secure a full-time spot at the NHL level.
“I’ve been waiting two years so [the Bruins] should make a decision: give me a chance [in the NHL] or…I don’t know,” he said recently, per CSNNE. “We’ll see what they do. I’m not a young guy anymore. I’m 22 already.
“If they don’t give me a chance to play while I’m here…I won’t play in Providence all of my life. I’m still waiting for [my chance].”
Khokhlachev has one year left on his entry-level contract, and is in tough to crack the B’s roster out of camp (he’s also waiver exempt, so they can send him to Providence without losing him.)
He’d presumably need to beat out either veteran Chris Kelly or first-year Finnish signing Joonas Kemppainen for a spot at center, though the Bruins could toy with the idea of moving Khokhlachev to the wing.
Updated: CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty spoke with Khokhlachev’s agent, Alexei Dementiev.
“At the present time Alexander Khokhlachev is at the Boston Bruins training camp, has one more year [on his] NHL deal and does his best to be the Bruin,” he said. “In this circumstance we can’t and we don’t talk to SKA St. Petersburg, the KHL team, who has his rights in Russia.
“Regarding Alexander’s interview several days ago, all I can say that we really want hockey people to hear how much he wants to be an NHL player and nothing about complaints or other innuendo — just a simple statement of facts.”