Alex Khokhlachev has joined the Providence Bruins and is expected to finish the season with the team. After his OHL team, the Windsor Spitfires, saw their season end with the OHL regular season as they didn’t qualify for the playoffs, Khokhlachev became eligible to play in the AHL.
Koko spent half the season in the KHL and joined his OHL team in January. He also played for Team Russia in the World Junior Championships this year in Ufa, Russia, helping his team earn a bronze medal.
In the KHL, he played for his father’s team, Moscow Spartak. In 26 games he only had 2 goals and 5 assists. When he re-joined his OHL team, where he played the previous 2 seasons, he was more successful with 22 goals and 26 assists in 29 games.
Khokhlachev was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2011 draft by the Bruins at #45 overall. The 19 year old from Moscow joined Providence for his first practice on Wednesday. In his first practice, he reportedly centered a line with Jamie Tardif and Kyle MacKinnon on his wings. He will make his Providence Bruins debut on Friday when they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
In other Providence Bruins news, Jared Knight reportedly also joined Providence at practice yesterday. The 2010 2nd-round draft pick has missed the majority of his first professional hockey season due to a recurring hamstring injury. He wore a red jersey to indicate no contact, but skating with the team is hopefully a positive sign in his ongoing recovery.
Despite the progress, Mark Divver reports that P-Bruins Coach Butch Cassidy has ruled out Knight’s return to the line-up until at least April. Learning from mistakes already made this season, the team is being very cautious with Knight so as to not re-aggravate his injured hamstring:
Even when he’s 100%, he might not play right away
Hopefully that will mean a healthy Knight for the playoffs. The P-Bruins are poised to make for the first time since the 2008-09 season. That year, the P-Bruins lost in the 3rd round to the Hershey Bears. They were able to have such a good playoff run that year because they had Tuukka Rask in net. Niklas Svedberg, who has already earned 30 wins in his rookie season, could take the team as far as Rask did. It should be an exciting playoff season, especially if Anthony Camara‘s OHL team’s season ends and he, too, can join Providence. Camara’s team, the Barrie Colts, face the Kingston Frontenacs in the 1st round of the OHL playoffs, which start tonight.
Camara finished the regular season with the 13th most goals in the OHL (36), and 6th in power play goals with 15. Like Khokhlachev, Camara was drafted by the Bruins in 2011. He went in the 3rd round at #81 overall. The Bruins 1st choice in that draft, of course, was Dougie Hamilton, who went at #9 overall (Thanks Kessel!)
Prospects from the 2012 entry draft that currently play in the OHL are doing well – specifically Boston’s #1 pick that year (at 24th overall), Malcom Subban. PK’s younger brother is the goaltender for the OHL’s Belleville Bulls. Subban has led the Bulls to the #1 seed in the playoffs, as they face off against the Mississauga Steelheads in the 1st round starting tonight.
In the 68-game regular season, Subban appeared in 46 games for the Bulls and had a 29-11-4 record. He had the best GAA (2.14) and save percentage (.934) in the OHL this season. He had the 5th most wins in the OHL among goaltenders, despite missing time to join Team Canada as the starting goaltender at the WJC, and had the 2nd most shutouts (5), with 2 goaltenders tied for 1st at 7. Despite Canada’s disappointing appearance at the WJC, Subban was not entirely to blame.
Picked by the Bruins in the 5th round at 131st overall, Seth Griffith is also a league leader in the OHL with his team, the London Knights (despite missing a number of games with a hand injury). In 54 games this season, he has 33 goals, 48 assists (11th best in OHL), and 81 points (also 11th best). His 22 power play assists are tied for 10th best.
Cody Payne was drafted in 2012 at #145 overall in the 5th round.
In 66 games played, the 19 year old RW scored 24 G & 21 A for the Whalers this season, while also chipping in 75 PIM in a display of his more physical side… – From The Hockey Writers, a nice post about the prospects as the OHL regular season ended.
Subban, Griffith, and Payne are not eligible to join Providence, however, since they do not have contracts with the Bruins yet. Camara recently signed a contract and therefore will be eligible.
In transaction news from Providence, goaltender Adam Morrison has been reassigned to Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL. He joined the P-Bruins last week while Michael Hutchinson nursed a hip injury, but Hutchinson is back to 100%. He did not appear in any games over the weekend although he dressed as Svedberg’s backup on Friday and Saturday. Defenseman Ryan Button has also been reassigned to the ECHL, to the South Carolina Stingrays.
In delayed injury news, Chris Bourque is out indefinitely after Cody Goloubef of the Springfield Falcons delivered a cheap shot last weekend. Goloubef was suspended for 2 games by the AHL for the hit.
Christian Hanson, who is out with an injured hand, is “50-50” for this weekend, as is Tyler Randell. Hanson’s injury has had a noticeable impact on the Bruins, especially in the faceoff circle. Hanson, a very underrated role player, is Coach Cassidy’s go-to guy in the faceoff circle – even more reliable to win draws than Captain Trent Whitfield and Ryan Spooner. Hopefully he will be back soon.
Providence currently sits at 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference with 81 points. If the playoffs started today, they would face the Hershey Bears. I recommend checking out the AHL’s daily playoff primer for more information as we prepare to enter the final stretch of the AHL regular season and start the playoffs.