Perhaps disappointingly, it didn’t take a high-speed drive away from pursuing Soviet agents to get Yuri Alexandrov to the Bruins the way the Buffalo Sabres once spirited Alexander Mogilny away from his home country’s national team.
All it took was a contract and a plane flight to get the Russian in Boston and add to the Bruins’ depth on defense.
That plane ride might’ve taken its toll on the 22-year-old Alexandrov at the outset of the Bruins’ development camp in early July. He seemed a bit slow and out of it, but then improved as the camp went on. During drills you could see the mobility and reach the Bruins are in love with.
At 6-foot-1, 180 pounds, Alexandrov has more size than most of Boston’s defense prospects. Plus, he has the experience of playing against professional men for a couple years now in the KHL. Last season, in 56 games he posted 6-15-21 totals. As with most young guys, he still has some filling out to do physically and his shot could use improvement.
There was hope when Alexandrov first signed that he would push for the sixth or seventh defense spot on the NHL club. More likely, he’ll spend the year in Providence (AHL) honing his skills, getting his feet wet in U.S. culture and learning the language. What Alexandrov learns from television (where most foreign-born players learn their English) might be as important as what he takes in from the coaches. By the end of this season, he should be at least “Black Aces” material even if he doesn’t sniff an NHL lineup this winter.