Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev could be wing options for B's in '14-'15
With the Bruins currently mired in a serious bind with the salary cap (Boston is actually $209,143 over the number) and in a desperate need to fill the holes on right wing in their lineup, the Black and Gold could find the solution to their problems in a pair of young talents.
Both Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev, two of the more skilled and promising prospects in Boston's system, could be the answer for the Bruins in their search to shore up the position at right wing for the 2014-15 season. Centermen by trade, both Spooner and Khokhlachev have just recently completed a full season in the AHL with the Providence Bruins, with Spooner going one step further having skated in 23 games with Boston, in which he recorded 11 assists and showcased his blistering speed and keen hockey sense.
With the option of signing a wing through free agency out of the question, swinging a trade to bring in a proven scoring threat is the only other course of action general manager Peter Chiarelli can take as the clock ticks towards training camp in September. If the GM cannot find a deal that works, bringing up the young kids from Providence will be the path the B's will have to take.
Yeah, those are two guys that I thought both had very strong years and both are centers, both – we’ve talked about it internally about maybe trying them on the wing...Whether it would be fair to them or not – we’ve had success putting centers at the wing. Center’s a tough position to play in the NHL. They’re both – you’ve seen Spooner up here, he had a very strong year, strong playoff. Khokhlachev had a real strong second half, terrific second half. He was – him and (Spooner) were arguably their best players down there in the playoffs, so you’ve got to give them some time, too.
Playing on the wings would provide a unique sort of challenge for both Spooner and Khokhlacehv if they are pegged as the skaters come October. Nevermind having to adjust on the fly at the pro level in terms of the physicality and speed of the game, spacing is limited, timing is altered and the sense of where you are in relation to your teammates and the boards is vastly different. But both players have the wheels, the skills and the hockey IQ to hold their own in a much more crucial role if called upon.
We'll see come September who excels in training camp and who falters. Spooner and Khokhlachev have the inside track in making the jump to the NHL. It remains to be seen if they can seize the opportunity and run with it.