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Boston Bruins Prospect Notes & Roundup

by Staff Writer / Boston Bruins
The New England Hockey Journal’s Kirk Luedeke contributes an in-depth feature to the Boston Bruins Prospect Report every edition. – 2011 Bruins draft picks Alexander Khokhlachev and Dougie Hamilton finished the 2012 World Jr. Championship with a silver and bronze medal, respectively.
Chudinov. Click here for full Prospect Report.
Russia dropped the gold medal game to Sweden in a 1-0 overtime loss after winning a rousing 6-5 semi-final game over Canada that saw Hamilton and his mates score four third period goals to nearly tie the game late. Khokhlachev or “Koko” tallied a goal and assist in that game, while Hamilton did the same.
Both players finished the tournament with solid performances, earning praise from scouts and observers. Hamilton played the last two minutes and change with Canada down by one score, showing the kind of faith head coach Don Hay had in his two-way ability.
Although the Bruins did not have any prospects on Sweden’s championship squad at the tournament, they still own the rights to big center Carl Söderberg, who is having a breakout season with Linköping of the Swedish Elite League.  Originally drafted 49th overall by the St. Louis Blues in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, the Bruins acquired him in a trade for goaltender Hannu Toivonen before the 2007-08 season. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound pivot has 11 goals and 21 points in 25 games in Sweden’s top pro league, respectable numbers after spending the previous four years in the second division with the Malmö Redhawks.
Goaltender Lars Volden posted a solid .911 save percentage and 2.60 GAA with Team Norway in the World Jr. Championship’s 1A Division in Germany. He is back with the Espoo Blues’ top junior (Under-20) club in Finland after beginning the year with Espoo’s senior team in the SM-Liiga (top pro league). The 2011 sixth-round selection has good size and quickness, showing off a refined game at Boston’s development camp last summer. The 19-year-old has intriguing potential as a late-round pick who will be allowed to develop in Europe without pressure given the B’s current goaltending situation.
Yury Alexandrov returned to Russia after spending the entire 2010-11 campaign in the AHL with Providence. The instinctive defender and former second-round choice in 2006 has split this year in the KHL between SKA St. Petersburg and Avangard Omsk, tallying a pair of goals and three points in 25 games.
Boston’s top prospect in Europe is defenseman Maxim Chudinov, who was selected with the first of two seventh-round draft picks in 2010. Keep reading for a more detailed look at the 21-year-old:
Bear Cub snapshot: Maxim Chudinov, D
With nine goals and 28 points in just 37 KHL games with Cherepovets Severstal, Chudinov (Choo-DEE-nov) has already eclipsed his previous career-high of eight goals and 23 points in 52 games, set last season. He is currently second overall in scoring in that league for defensemen and second on his club as well.
Talent analysis: Although under 6-feet in height, Chudinov is built like a bowling ball and his low center of gravity makes him tough to knock off the puck. A very good skater with quick acceleration and excellent footwork, Chudinov uses his speed to join the rush or keep opponents away from his own net.  His overall defense is still a work in progress, but he has the mobility to at least keep opposing forwards honest. 
Infamous for a late, after-the-whistle hit on Team Canada forward Claude Giroux during Game 8 of the 2007 Canada-Russia Super Series, he touched off a brawl between Canada and Russia (involving fellow B’s prospect Alexandrov). Chudinov’s natural aggression both in carrying the play offensively and the abrasive physical snarl he displays despite a lack of size make him a tough opponent to go up against.
“Chudinov is one of the best young d-men playing in the (KHL) and was even named starter for the Eastern Conference’s all-star squad,” said Fedor Fedin, hockey blogger for Russian Machine Never Breaks. “His ice time varies, including two notable games when he hit the 30-minute
Outlook: Chudinov projects as a No. 3 or 4 NHL defenseman and power play specialist. Although his KHL contract expires this summer, his status for next season is uncertain. The Bruins could bring him over for development camp in July, but anything beyond that is pure speculation at this stage. Chudinov appears to be a nice late-round flier for the Bruins, and he may get a chance to win a spot with the club as early as next fall.
In the next edition, we’ll look at some of Boston’s NCAA prospects and conduct a talent analysis on Cornell freshman Brian Ferlin.
Kirk Luedeke covers the Boston Bruins and NHL prospects for the New England Hockey Journal.
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