Alex Khokhlachev just wanted a chance.
A chance to prove he could play in the NHL, that his impressive AHL numbers could translate into success at the highest level.
Unfortunately for the 22-year-old Russian, he hasn’t really been granted one. At least, not the kind of chance he was hoping for. Khokhlachev has once again spent most of his season with the Providence Bruins, for whom he has 47 points in 42 games. He’s only played five games for the Boston Bruins, receiving limited ice time and failing to register a point.
And so it’s no surprise to see the following report on Twitter:
Khokhlachev is a pending restricted free agent.
One team that could be interested is the Vancouver Canucks. Their GM is Jim Benning, who used to be the Bruins’ assistant GM. And Benning said a lot of nice things about Khokhlachev back in 2011, after the B’s drafted him 40th overall.
“He’s a skilled player,” said Benning, per the Boston Globe. “Loves to score. For a Russian player, he’s real competitive. He’s strong on the puck. He’s an elusive skater. From the blue line in on the offensive end, that’s the strength of his game.”
Granted, almost five years have passed since Benning made those comments. But considering the Bruins are reportedly interested in Vancouver defenseman Dan Hamhuis, and considering Khokhlachev seems to match the profile of player that the Canucks have acquired during Benning’s tenure (see: Sven Baertschi, Emerson Etem, Linden Vey, Markus Granlund), well, it’s only fair to speculate.