2010-11 Sabres Draft: Khokhlachev, Kassian, and one Ridiculously Awesome Subway Commercial

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Long title!

Yes, we’ve got a lot to cover here, so we’ll get right to it.

Today we’re taking a close look at a Russian center, who stands at 5-10 and weighs in at 172 pounds.  I know, you’re already thinking about diminutive forwards Tyler Ennis, Nathan Gerbe, and Paul Byron – but stick with me here.  Sometimes it’s the size of the fight in the dog that matters, and with Khokhlachev, that’s what you get.

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"Koko" also comes with a heavy serving of passion.

He’s got a great hockey personality as well, as he was able to show off in a recent Subway commercial – but more on that later.

Khoklachev’s Prospect Card (from NHL.com):

KokoProspectCard 2010 11 Sabres Draft: Khokhlachev, Kassian, and one Ridiculously Awesome Subway Commercialbuffalosabresnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/KokoProspectCard-300x84.jpg 300w" sizes="(max-width: 589px) 100vw, 589px" />

Again, a 5-10 center is not exactly the prototype the Sabres should be searching for right now, but with larger framed forwards already on the way in the likes of Luke Adam, Marcus Foligno, and Zack Kassian, the Sabres do have the room to add a smaller center. As an added bonus, Kassian spent time on the same line with Khoklachev while playing for the Windsor Spitfires, and they enjoyed a lot of success on the ice together.

The “Koko-Kassian connection” not only sounds good, but it could make a lot of sense in Buffalo.

Here’s what the scouts are saying:

NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Edwards

“He’ll take a hit to make a play and he’s not at all afraid. I’ve seen him get hit hard a few times and he just bounces right back into the play. His energy level is always there, and he’s always working hard. Down the stretch for Windsor, he’s played well. He’s a skilled forward.”

The Scouting Reports’ Andrew Weiss

“The first thing that jumps out about Khokhlachev’s game is his heart. With a grinder-like style, Khokhlachev hustles on both the forecheck and backcheck. Watch Khokhlachev closer and one will see that he has a terrific hockey sense. Khokhlachev has no problem driving to the net without the puck and banging home a rebound or setting up backdoor for a pass. This style worked great for the center that saw a lot of playing time with wingers Tom Kuhnhackl (Pittsburgh) and Jake Carrick. Khokhlachev also displays a great release that makes him not only a scoring threat just outside of the crease but inside of the zone as well.”

Kirk Luedeke from Bruins Draft Watch

“Khokhlachev is pure skill, baby. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if he goes top-10 in the NHL Draft come June. He’s a game-breaker, and like Alexander Burmistrov, by coming over to North America has shown a commitment to playing here and will alleviate concerns about signability by doing so. He’s one of those guys who, although is small, could be in the NHL next season because his speed and puck skills top shelf.”

Indeed, the more you read, the more you want to know.  “Could be in the NHL next season?” Maybe that Koko-Kassian connection could be happening sooner rather than later.

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Kass and Koko share the pine in Windsor.

Kokhlachev has not been in the first round of many, if any, mock drafts out there, with most have him going in the early goings of round two.  If the Sabres make a trade to regain the 2nd rounder that they lost in exchange for Brad Boyes, Koko could be a very smart pick.

For an in-depth report on Kokhlachev (including video), click here.

Oh, I almost forgot – here’s that Subway commercial starring Kassian and Kokhlachev.  It’s so superbly terrible that it could inspire another sequel to “Slapshot.”  Apparently Subway spends so much of its budget on Jared (feeding him) that they could only afford one take with these two (though frankly it looks as if this really could have been take number twenty).  What is up with that sandwich mascot in the awkward intro – was he even supposed to be in the frame?  Also noted: there’s only one “Sandwich Artist” behind the counter, so I think it’s safe to say the other one was directing this thing.  At least they got the soundtrack right, because it makes absolutely no sense in this sequence either.  (And yes, I already submitted the video to “Tosh.0,” [sorry, Zack], so you need not bother.)

“I love five dollars footlong.”  Love it.

Tip-o-the-sunglasses to Aaron Orbaker of “No Power in the ‘Verse Blog” for sending me the link to that glorious video.

See Also: 2010-11 Sabres Draft: Another Ruuttu? 2010-11 Sabres Draft, Not a Mock but a Cheat Sheet Part One and Part Two

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